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The Budget - Impacts on the FM Industry

24 March 2014 | Updated 01 January 1970
 
A number of industry leaders have commentated on last week's Budget and what it has in store for the FM industry and profession
Sarah Bentley, Chief Executive of The Building Futures Group said: "The government’s commitment to double apprenticeship numbers is welcomed.  Our sector already provides many great opportunities for apprentices, however we need to do much more to ensure young people are aware of these opportunities and take them up.

Our sector is trying hard to recruit apprentices. The Building Futures Group is developing a robust employability programme for members to access – supporting young people into work in our sector. Last year’s partnership agreement between Asset Skills and the Department of Work and Pensions shows our commitment to supporting youth employment and we see this partnership as an enabler to this work.

 

Growth in private sector employment

The growth in private sector employment is excellent for all of our industries and is an opportunity for our sector to promote itself as one of choice with career progression prospects. Furthermore, as businesses grow, there will be greater demand for the support services that our members provide.

Gareth Tancred, chief executive of the BIFM also welcomed the extra commitment to apprenticeships saying the £85 million initiative will be good for FM firms.

Chris MacDonald - MD of Propertyserve UK: "With regards to the Construction Industry Scheme (CIS), and the Government's proposed consultation on options to improve the operation of the CIS for smaller businesses and to introduce mandatory on-line filing for contractors, we believe this is a positive step.

"Our business has undertaken online filing since it became available. The task is far less arduous than the paper-based process that was previously in place.

"Speaking from experience, combining robust automated internal systems with HMRC online filing is a good thing and makes the whole process far quicker. It's the best way of managing the process."

Craig Shepheard, MD of FM Expert:I’ve got three points about the Budget from an FM’s perspective

  • The fuel duty rise that was planned for September has been cancelled. This will help a lot of FM companies who run large mobile fleets.
  • I think the budget news about extending grants to businesses supporting Apprentices is excellent news for the FM Industry. We need to invest in the youth of today as they will be the future of the FM industry tomorrow.
  • The new increased £10,500 tax free allowance will be very beneficial to a lot of FM staff particularly at the low end of the pay scale. This should help a lot of FM staff, particularly in the cleaning sector.”

Andrew Hulbert, Associate Director, Facility Services, Bilfinger HSG Facility Management: “My thoughts on the budget are that strategically the GDP growth forecasts of around 2.5% for the next five years should begin to give businesses some confidence in their own stability. Potentially leading to greater exploration of improvements in service delivery rather than having cost efficiencies at the top of the agenda. However, these figures perhaps suggest businesses may stay cautious for a further twelve months or so before starting to make any significant changes.

 “Some good news at an operational level for FM in terms of ‘Support for building of more than 200,000 new homes, £140m extra for flood defence repairs and maintenance and £200m made available to fix potholes’ all of which is likely to contribute to FM sector growth over the next year.

“From a purely people perspective, an increase in personal tax allowance is always welcomed to assist low wage works to earn more before paying tax. This will assist thousands of part-time facilities staff across the UK.

“Perhaps the best news for attracting young people to the sector is the extension of the grant for small businesses to support 100,000 more apprenticeships. This is a gift to small business within FM and provides a real opportunity to bring young enthusiastic talent in at a really low cost. Smaller FM businesses should explore this opportunity to bring in apprentices at in all sectors from security, to engineering to FM.”

Andrew Shaw of BSG: “With the push to reduce the deficit, we are likely to see a continued shift towards outsourcing in some areas of the public sector.

David Mann, Executive Partner at Tuffin Ferraby Taylor: “The measures announced in the Budget only focus on increasing demand for new homes. However, severe supply constraints are limiting the construction industry’s capacity. Supply constraints arise from the fall out of the downturn. There is a skills shortage owing to retrenched skilled workers being permanently lost to the sector, who have not yet been replaced. This is combined with a backlog of planning applications arising from slimmed down local authority planning departments. Added to this are shortages and long delivery lead times of materials such as bricks and tiles as manufacturers permanently closed or mothballed plants across Europe and the UK. The increased demand and lack of supply of these basic building materials is pushing the cost of construction upwards too.”

Picture: George Osbourne - Budget Box By Craig Shepheard of FM Expert

 

Article written by Brian Shillibeer | Published 24 March 2014

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