George Osborne’s Budget last week was a disappointment. There were headline-grabbing announcements on mortgage and equity schemes to boost housebuilding, but none of the details the industry had been hoping for on progress to major infrastructure projects.
The additional £3bn the chancellor announced for infrastructure from 2015 is of course very welcome, but projects need to get moving before that.
There were no announcements on schemes qualifying for UK Guarantees and little movement on the 40 priority projects outlined in autumn 2011.
There were measures that will help some SMEs – both the National Insurance allowance and the cancellation of the fuel duty rise were welcome, but they don’t compare with an immediate boost to, say, repairs and maintenance.
It’s not all doom and gloom though – high hopes are pinned on Lord Deighton in his new role at the Treasury to improve procurement. Let’s hope he does it quickly.