rising residential: changes to look out for in 2018.

A new industrial strategy coupled with announcements made in the Budget have put infrastructure, technology and training at the heart of Britain’s plans to build an economy fit for the 21st century.

Measures outlined include building hundreds of thousands of new homes, improving transport, developing greener industries and upskilling workers. The changes are aimed at increasing productivity and creating thousands of well-paid jobs as Britain  

We preview some of the changes in policy and strategy that could have wide ranging repercussions for the construction industry and the wider public from 2018 onwards..


Stamp duty cut.

Philip Hammond was coming to the end of this Budget when he announced one final give away: the abolition of stamp duty on homes up to £300,000 for first time buyers.1. The cut aims to help those making their first steps on the property ladder and the change could benefit up to 95% of first time buyers as well as firing demand for more housing, which leads us to....


300,000 new homes a year.

This is the same target David Cameron pledged to meet and one repeated by the chancellor. He’s earmarked £44bn towards the construction of new homes across the UK but opponents say this is but a drop in the ocean and far more are required to solve the housing crisis. So far in 2017, fewer than 200,000 homes have been built so far which may highlight the scale of the promise and hint at the reality of its delivery.


Harnessing energy in the home. 

New homes will be fitted with electric charging cables that can be used to power electric vehicles. This is a step closer towards the government’s ‘clean-air’ goals that were set earlier in the year and comes along with the announcement that an extra £100m will be set aside to help people make the switch from diesel and petrol to more energy efficient electric and battery powered modes of transport.  


Going green with garden towns. 

More than £15bn will go towards new land and infrastructure for five new garden towns. 

A garden town can be defined as a residential and suburban area, developed on a plot of repurposed greenery, and previous examples of this are places such as Welwyn Garden City. 

Whilst building on some of the UK’s greener spaces might not be the most popular move, it is something that will bring a lot of work to the residential sector. More than 46,000 people live in Welwyn alone, so the scale of these developments will ensure a plentiful amount of construction.


Construction and digital training courses. 

In a bid to futureproof the UK construction and residential sectors, funding is being available for training courses with £30m going towards AI based courses and the remaining £34m going to construction courses. Skilled trades and labour will be taught in a bid to increase the amount of trained specialists in areas such as plumbing, bricklaying and plastering.

The scheme will be overseen by the Trades Union Congress, the Confederation of British Industry and the government and will be set in motion as a way of addressing the skills gap that has been affecting the sector. 

The news is a boost for an industry which has skilled workers at both ends of the spectrum but fewer people trained to take on the mid-level tasks. It is also hoped that this will address concerns surrounding the increasing automation of the UK. By giving workers the skills necessary to find work in an ever more technological society, we protect the workforce from being left behind. 


There’s potential for residential. 

While new developments mean job creation, it has been suggested that there is little evidence they would affect current house prices. Despite this, some encouraging steps have been made to tackle the staffing crisis many industry leaders are currently facing. This is a positive move for an industry that has previously been suffering from projects that do not make it past completion due to lack of funding. By providing the sector with enough work and enough money to carry it out, the UK government are giving construction a chance to flourish. Furthermore, by providing means for staff to be trained, and projects for residential sector to create, the government has made promises that would give the industry the helping hand it needs to thrive. 


How London could look in 2041.

Nowhere is the need for new housing more acute than in the capital, whose population is expected to swell by 21% by 2041. London Mayor Sadiq Khan has made it his mission to provide hundreds of thousands of new homes with 50% of them ‘genuinely affordable’ and his London Plan identifies dozens of potential sites that makes the most of new transport links encompassing London like Crossrail, HS2 and the Bakerloo Line extension. In total the mayor wants to build 66,000 homes a year for 20 years to meet the shortfall.


Reversing rail closures.

Another idea floated by the government is to reverse Dr Richard Beeching’s rail reforms of the 1960s. Back then 4,000 miles of loss-making routes were closed but plans are afoot to reverse some of them to modernise the rail network. It would, transport secretary Chris Grayling said, relieve pressure on rail services and spread house building around the country. “Many commuter services are full and getting busier and passengers know how much pressure the network is under...We need to expand our network to unlock jobs and housing growth across the country,” he said.


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