How will the Autumn Statement affect the timber industry in 2017?

Published Friday 13th January 2017

Towards the end of last year (Wednesday 23rd November 2016), Chancellor Philip Hammond presented his Autumn Statement to the Parliament. This included relevant measures in favour of housing and business development.

Housing and infrastructure were set at the heart of the economic policy, which is good news and will have a positive effect on the timber sector, but what can we expect for 2017?

The key points from the statement include, but not limited to:

  • A ban on upfront fees charged by letting agents in England "as soon as possible"
  • A £2.3bn housing infrastructure fund to help provide 100,000 new homes in high-demand areas
  • £1.4bn to deliver 40,000 extra affordable homes
  • Doubling UK Export Finance capacity
  • £400m into venture capital funds through the British Business Bank to unlock £1bn in finance for growing firms
  • £23bn to be spent on innovation and infrastructure over five years. Below you can find a collection of comments from leading Construction Sector organisations

The Chancellor has conveyed clear policy intent by doubling the annual capital spend on housing between now and 2021. From this, it’s clear that he understands the direct link between housebuilding and output and employment that creates local growth and national prosperity.

However, there is still a great deal to be done to build many more new homes to ease today’s housing crisis.

Housing and Infrastructure

Setting housing and infrastructure at the heart of our economic policy is good news and will no doubt have a positive effect on the timber sector. The Business Rates reduction package on the surface will give a boost, especially for our rural members though it may not adequately address the challenges that they face – these need to be analysed carefully.

£3.7 billion will be spent on new housing projects in England. Approximately £2.3 billion of this will be spent on the infrastructure related to housing developments - such as roads and unlocking public land, while £1.4 billion will made to deliver 40,000 additional affordable homes.

Productivity is key

Overall, the announcements made in the Autumn Statement were encouraging, as well as the positive impact that the delivery of these will have on UK construction product manufacturers and distributors. Many of these policy measures are expected to help the UK prepare for the challenges ahead through this inevitable period of uncertainty. The key, however, will be how these announcements feed through to delivery on the ground.

The emphasis on productivity throughout the Autumn Statement is paramount and we look forward to seeing more detail on how these plans will be enacted. But what do you think?

If you’ve got any thoughts on any issues addressed in The Autumn Statement and how this may affect the timber industry, be sure to get in touch on Twitter or Facebook page – we’d love to hear your thoughts.