Brexit continues to cast a shadow of uncertainty over Britain’s future. In the short term independent builders’ merchants’ markets are holding out well. Longer term it may be a different story, as it’s unclear what the impact will be on investment into the UK, on labour and changes in regulation. In the interim, we hope increasing pressure on Government to build more homes will be reflected in new policies. Soon! We also hope product availability shortages and price inflation will ease soon. If they don’t, they will sap future growth.
On a much more positive note, the Government’s Clean Growth Strategy, published in October, is a significant development for the insulation market. It promises to benefit ECO and social housing, private rental and new build sectors.
Clean technology is developing at a rapid pace and the new ‘clean growth’ strategy will help drive energy efficiency measures, as well as create jobs and contribute to economic growth. The initiative is an important milestone in the UK’s work to cut emissions and grow the economy, and should make a real difference to people’s lives, from reducing energy bills and improving air quality, to supporting new technologies and boosting earning power in high-quality jobs. The Government is confident it will be a success, with progress already made towards its existing 2050 target to reduce emissions by at least 80% compared with 1990. We hope it backs ‘able to pay’ targets with sufficient fiscal ‘stick and carrot’ measures to prime the pump and build momentum quickly so it achieves this long term goal.
The global transition to a low carbon economy has huge growth opportunities. The UK’s low carbon sector already employs over 230,000 people directly, and another 200,000 through supply chains. The Committee on Climate Change estimates that the low carbon economy has the potential to grow 11% a year from 2015 through to 2030 – four times faster than the rest of the economy.
So, while the construction industry faces many challenges it’s reassuring to see new initiatives like the Clean Growth Strategy open up new opportunities for our markets.