With confirmation that Boris Johnson MP has secured the leadership of the Conservative Party, in the process paving the way for him to become prime minister, the UK construction industry has reacted to the news…
Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the Federation of Master Builders:
“Boris the builder must build columns instead of writing them if he is to fix the housing crisis and restore the hope of home ownership to a generation. We will only reach the number of good quality homes we need, and at the rate we need them, if local house builders are freed up to build as many homes as the large house builders. We want to see Boris bring down the barriers facing construction SMEs, including those who repair and maintain our homes. If Boris is looking to cut taxes, then we suggest slashing VAT on home improvement works, as nine in ten builders believe this is the single best tool in Boris the builder’s toolkit to prevent an economic downturn post-Brexit. Bojo must restore the housing market’s mojo to ensure that Brexit Britain is built on strong foundations.”
John Newcomb, Chief Executive of the Builders Merchants’ Federation:
“I congratulate Boris Johnson on his election as Tory Leader in succession to Theresa May. I also wish him well, as the challenges ahead that he and his new ministerial team face, both internationally and here at home, are immense.
“Looking beyond Brexit to domestic policy, we seek urgent confirmation that solving the housing crisis is at the very top of his to-do list. Watching the coverage of last week’s final Leadership Hustings in east London, Boris wasn’t asked a single question about housing or home improvement. Indeed, little more than lip service has been paid to this area over the past 9 years, with 9 Tory Housing Ministers during that time.
“Mrs May’s Government may have set a target of 300,000 new homes a year by the mid-2020s, but if this is to be achieved, the BMF wants long-lasting stability and fresh determination by a Boris Johnson Government to narrow the gap between housing demand and supply.
“The BMF met Boris when he was Mayor of London. We helped him and City Hall officials with his London Boiler Cashback Offer that encouraged Londoners to replace old boilers with modern, energy-efficient models. We hope he can now give renewed impetus to help people and companies move towards a low- or zero-carbon future, especially in their homes and workplaces.
“Investing to improve buildings and fitting energy-efficient and water-saving measures is central to our members’ businesses. They deliver the insulation, heating & hot water systems, thermostatic controls and heat pumps on which policy must be based to make necessary cuts in emissions.”
Jamie Johnson, CEO, FJP Investment:
“Boris Johnson’s victory should come as no surprise. Having been picked as the favourite at the beginning of the leadership campaign, the financial market has been able to prepare for his somewhat inevitable appointment. Over the next few hours, the markets will adjust to the news, but this should be a generally stable affair. The real question is how the markets will react over the next three months, particularly given Boris Johnson’s willingness to purse a no-deal Brexit should an agreement with the EU not be made by 31 October 2019.”
Jerald Solis, Director, Experience Invest:
“Brexit-fatigue has well and truly set-in, and whether you voted to remain or leave, the political deadlock in Westminster has been frustrating for business leaders across the country. When it comes to the property market in particular, developers have continued to stride ahead, constructing new-builds to meet increasing demand for housing. This has been undertaken with minimal leadership and guidance from the government since the EU referendum in 2016
“I for one hope that Boris Johnson’s appointment will lead to action, so that Brexit in whatever shape or form can progress. Only then will the government be in a position to think beyond the 31 October deadline, and ensure developers in the private sector are offered the support they need.”
Paresh Raja, CEO, Market Financial Solutions:
“Boris Johnson’s appointment as Prime Minister poses more questions than answers. The most pressing of all is his strategy towards progressing Brexit. Given the hardships faced by Theresa May in her attempts to get her withdrawal bill through parliament, it remains to be seen how he will be able to achieve this.
“While not downplaying the significance of Brexit, we also cannot let this overshadow some of the pressing issues facing the property market. There’s a myriad of challenges that need to be addressed, and so far, creative action to address these has been minimal. That’s why it is vital for Boris not to let Brexit continue to dominate the political landscape. Vision and leadership is needed to ensure we can also address pressing national challenges such as the housing crisis. At the same time, it will likely encourage more investment activity, with investors being able to clearly plan for the future.”