Autumn Statement comment from Gleeds Chairman, Richard Steer
This was a budget produced by a Chancellor who has one hand tied behind his back by the Brexit result and the other by the PM trying to keep her party in line.
There is still so much economic uncertainty that it is difficult to be excited by re-heated announcements of increased infrastructure spending and more housebuilding.
The new productivity fund sounds good but we have heard this type of thing before and, whilst it is argued that it will be funded by increased borrowing, the main issue is confidence in the UK. This is not a budget that is going to help enhance the value in the sterling - which impacts cost - or persuade private sector funders to invest. It was an inward looking budget that appeared to deliver opportunities via raised borrowing. The increased profile of housebuilding initiatives is to be welcomed but until we know answers to questions like whether or not we will have free access to skilled labour, one feels it was more of a wish list than a reliable fiscal forecast