THE end of 2019 was a turbulent period in the UK, both politically and economically, with Brexit gridlock and a general election.
When you consider this, along with bad weather in October, it is not surprising the order books of small and medium-sized construction firms took a hit.
Builders are more optimistic for the future, however, with over a third of SMEs predicting higher workloads over the coming three months. We are yet to see if there has been a so-called “Boris bounce” following the election but there are some positive signs.
For example, employment levels among SMEs have returned to positive ground for the first time since the start of 2019. This, of course, brings with it concerns around skills shortages and SMEs continue to struggle to hire key trades such as bricklayers and carpenters.
With the Budget due in early March, this provides a perfect opportunity to restore some confidence in the construction industry. Builders will be instrumental in delivering key government objectives such as 300,000 new homes by the mid-2020s and reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2050.
Radical policies will be needed to deliver these targets, which should include reform of the planning system and a new strategy to make existing homes more energy efficient.
From: Andrew Bates, Lindley, Huddersfield.
I REPEATEDLY read letters in The Yorkshire Post from Leave voters who rejoice in the deselection of Remain MPs and who have said the Brexit argument has been won by Leave voters.
On the contrary. It was the election that was won by Leave voters supporting the Conservative Party. And that was thanks to the vagaries of the first- past-the-post electoral system.
The argument for Brexit will be won when it is demonstrated that we have become a more harmonious, prosperous and united country as a result of the decision to leave the EU at 11pm last night.
We also have a Prime Minister with a reputation for untrustworthiness. Forgive me, therefore, if I do not share the optimism of Leave voters.
From: Jarvis Browning, Fadmoor, York.
FRANCE wants an extra 25 years to fish in our waters. Non! No more. It’s ours to look after now. They have taken out more than their share. It’s about time we have our own fishing rights.