Looking Forward at the Construction Industry

going forwardOne of the clear messages that came out of our recent Marketing Needs & Trends Survey was that companies have been reluctant to spend because of uncertainty about the pace and stability of economic recovery, with the indicators of the past three months looking positive and the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement due to take place on 4th December, we preview the economic outlook. The ONS announcement at the end of October about increased growth in GDP and a second consecutive quarter of growth for the construction sector is great news, but for many SMEs, the trickle down is still taking a while. Help is on its way, however, with the Prime Minister announcing plans to introduce an ‘Employment Allowance’ for SMEs from April 2014 which will reduce employer National Insurance Contributions liability. The move will be of particular significance to companies with fewer than 50 employees and could provide savings of up to £2000.

The Government is also promising to tackle the issue of late payments: a problem that has particularly dogged the construction sector where many sub-contractors have gone out of business while waiting for payments from larger companies. The promise is for financial penalties for late payers – the question is how this will be policed and delivered in practice.

It seems unlikely that the Autumn Statement will bring with it any major boosts to spending but it’s clear that there is recognition that SMEs will play an important role in economic recovery nationally. 2013 has been a tough year for many but – cautiously – we may just have more to look forward to next year.