The UK construction equipment sector reacted positively to this week’s report on High Speed 2 (HS2), as well as to new policies announced in the Budget.
Rob Oliver, chief executive of manufacturers’ organisation the Construction Equipment Association (CEA), applauded moves by HS2 Ltd chairman Sir David Higgins to “turn up the pressure on politicians” for the new high speed rail link.
“Whatever happens, HS2 has to be good for the construction equipment sector, but we can’t afford things to get bogged down by political considerations and planning laws,” said Oliver.
He also welcomed chancellor George Osborne’s Budget announcement that money is to be allocated to highway maintenance.
“Last year the CEA lobbied for special funding for road repairs – the £200M ‘pothole’ fund is, therefore, helpful,” he said, adding: “Of potentially more significance is the doubling of the annual investment allowance to £500,000 until the end of next year – which should tempt plant hire companies and contractors to bring forward their spending plans.”
Other Budget announcements included a freeze on the carbon price floor, and renewables obligation compensation for energy intensive industries, which Oliver said “has to be good news for our members manufacturing in the UK”.
He also described the government’s “continued and extended support for home ownership” as “good news for those supplying kit to the housing market”.
Oliver added: “The news that UK Export Finance will now have up to £8bn to guarantee finance for British manufacturers abroad and at better rates sounds good. The government has always been chary of breaching EU state aid rules on trade support, whilst competitors haven’t always been so nervous. The government now say that they will be offering finance packages that go to the legal limits – let’s see if this really kicks in as a further fillip to exporters.”