Clive Docwra, managing director of property and construction consultancy McBains, said:

“We recognise the Chancellor’s hands were tied by the extent of the COVID crisis, but – unless there is anything in the small print of the Red Book – there was little specific announced for the construction sector given that the government has made ‘build back better’ its mantra for recovery.

“The ‘super deduction’ in tax may encourage construction firms to invest, while the reintroduction of 95% mortgages, and extending their availability beyond first time buyers, could trigger a revival of the housebuilding sector.

“But we’re disappointed that it appears green retrofit schemes, such as the Green Homes Grant, were not renewed, as such programmes not only help contribute to carbon net-zero targets, but provide a lifeline to many construction firms in terms of maintenance contracts.  On a macro-level, we’d have also liked to have seen a bigger commitment to wider green initiatives to help encourage the industry to move towards net-zero.

“And while the Chancellor may have introduced a fast-track visa scheme for high-skilled workers in the tech sector, we’d have welcomed similar applying to the construction industry, because a combination of Brexit and Covid has led to an exodus of high-skilled construction workers from the EU and elsewhere.  The doubling of payments to employers for taking on trainees may encourage more firms to take on replacements, however.”