Budget preview: What’s likely to be in it for construction?


As interest rates are cut, Tom Lowe looks at what might be in the chancellor’s red box

Today’s Budget, the first for nearly 16 months, is likely to herald the beginning of a bold new era in construction spending. Back in October 2018 when the last Budget was delivered by then-chancellor Philip Hammond, the country was entering the most chaotic period of the Brexit saga. A minority government was clinging on, the People’s Vote movement was in the ascendency and the prospect of Brexit itself was hanging in the balance. 

Now the UK has officially left the European Union, some confidence has returned to the economy – Covid-19 notwithstanding – and an 80-seat majority government is preparing to launch the most ambitious construction and infrastructure agenda for decades. All this, and the Budget is to be delivered by a shiny new chancellor barely three weeks into the job. So, first question, who is Rishi Sunak? 

The new chancellor

Catapulted into the second most powerful position in government after Sajid Javid’s surprise resignation in last month’s reshuffle, the 39-year-old Brexiteer and Oxford graduate has had a meteoric rise since being elected to parliament less than five years ago. 

Following a stint as a junior minister for local government, his decision to back Boris Johnson in the 2019 leadership contest was rewarded with the post of first secretary to the Treasury, Javid’s deputy.

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