Industry reacts to 2017 Spring Budget
BSRIA Chief Executive, Julia Evans, has given her reaction to the Chancellor’s 2017 Spring Budget.
“In what he confirmed to be the last Spring Budget, Chancellor Philip Hammond has said there can be ‘no room for complacency’ as Britain prepares to leave the EU.
“This Budget is a ground-breaking one for skills which is welcomed by BSRIA. There has never been a more critical time for the UK to be able to sit at the worldwide ‘top table’ of technical education for young people.
“BSRIA is especially pleased to learn that £300m has been earmarked to support 1,000 new PhD places and fellowships in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects.
“The introduction of ‘T-levels’ is encouraging. Government will increase by more than 50 per cent the number of programme hours of training for 16-19 year olds on technical routes to more than 900 hours a year on average. This includes the completion of a high quality three-month industry work placement.
“The announcement of maintenance loans to students on technical education courses is also good news. There is a real need to attract more young people into the construction industry with new skills, so today’s Budget is a refreshed start in addressing this.
“Naturally, BSRIA members and industry will be looking for a continuing partnership with government as it attempts to make the apprenticeship levy work with the drive toward delivery of three million apprenticeships to start by 2020.”
The Builder Merchants Federation (BMF) also support the introduction of ‘T’ Levels but say that more needs to be done to ensure the building industry is future-proofed.
John Newcomb, Managing Director of the BMF, said: “The building industry and its supply chain are experiencing huge skills’ shortages. Construction firms, large and small, face real difficulty attracting new faces. Our industry is not seen by young people as a long-term career option – especially by young women.
“This week is National Apprentices’ Week and we ask ministers to look at what more can be done to encourage school- and college-leavers to take up the trades we so desperately need – the bricklayers, the roofers, the carpenters, the electricians, the plasterers and the merchants.
“If the Chancellor’s announcement about ‘T’ levels helps redress the parity of esteem between academic and vocational training, then that is good news. Merchanting provides fantastic career opportunities for young people, and the BMF is keen to persuade parents that university is not always the right choice for their children.”