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Last edited 25 Sep 2020
CIOB reacts to 2020 Winter Economy Plan
On 24 September 2020, Chancellor Rishi Sunak MP made a statement to the House of Commons on the Government’s plans to protect jobs through winter 2020. The Chancellor’s Winter Economy Plan includes a six-month Job Support Scheme, an extension to the coronavirus loan schemes and the Self Employment Income Support Scheme and flexibility for VAT repayments.
 The pandemic and the built environment
The impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have been felt acutely by businesses operating in the built environment, with projects facing supply chain issues, a halt to planning and inspection timetables and new health and safety measures changing the way the industry works.
The CIOB welcomes the Chancellor’s announcement of these measures, and particularly notes the extension of the coronavirus loan schemes, which have been an important lifeline to construction businesses over the past months. Small- and medium-sized enterprises make up around 99% of the construction industry, and support for these businesses is essential for their survival.
 Construction professionals prepare
Despite these challenges, construction professionals have remained optimistic throughout the crisis and have worked hard to adapt and operate safely to support the economy and provide vital infrastructure, including the NHS Nightingale field hospitals. The Construction Talent Retention Scheme is helping businesses to quickly recruit talented individuals and reduce skills shortages within the industry.
While The CIOB recognises that now is not the time to outline long-term plans, it is important that thought is given to a stable pipeline of future work for the industry. The industry will need confidence if it is to retain its existing skills base, as well as attract new entrants and train or retrain them in the low carbon skills of the future.
The CIOB is calling on the Government to build on its £2 billion Green Homes Grant scheme (GHG) and make progress towards its manifesto commitment of £9.2 billion to improve energy efficiency in homes, schools and hospitals.
The CIOB also recommends that the Government implement a ‘Help to Fix’ interest-free loan scheme, predicated on energy efficiency, to improve the quality of the nation’s housing stock and encourage the uptake of retrofit measures by homeowners not covered by the GHG. This will help to protect existing employment and provide new, green jobs across all regions of the UK.
This article originally appeared on the CIOB website under the title, 'CIOB reacts to today's statement from the Chancellor'. It was published on 24 September 2020.
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