Andrew Bridgen welcomes Budget support for infrastructure, business and the housing market

28th November 2017

Andrew Bridgen welcomes the Budget and support for infrastructure, business and the housing market in particular, but calls on the Government to remove uncertaintly over climate-change policy costs for energy-intensive industries to encourage investment in the building materials sector.

It is a pleasure to follow the right hon. Member for Doncaster North (Edward Miliband). I may not agree with his message, but I admire the passion with which he delivers it.

Let me, in the time available to me, welcome the Budget and, in particular, the proposals for infrastructure, business and the housing market. In my constituency, we are certainly doing our bit for the housing market. We have completed more than 600 new homes in each of the last three years, and this year we expect to complete more than 700. It is worth bearing in mind that if every constituency were building new homes at the same rate as mine, well over 400,000 new homes would be available this year.

I welcome what the Chancellor said about supporting the building industry, SME builders and releasing public land for building, but I hope that Ministers will bear in mind the need to ensure that the bidding process for the purchase of public sector land as it comes available—regulated by the Homes and Communities Agency—is not so onerous that it deters SMEs from taking part. Otherwise we will miss out on a valuable aspect of that policy.

My constituency is home to some of the UK’s major housebuilders, and the major brick and aggregate producers. In recent years, one of the biggest deterrents to investing in building materials and energy-intensive industries is uncertainty about climate change-related policy costs, with potential threats including EU emissions trading reforms that would put many firms out of business, even state of the art brick factories. The last two brick factories built in the UK are in my constituency. One was built in 2008, at the end of the economic crash, and one will come on stream in the next few months. They involve considerable investment—about £55 million—and each plant can produce 100 million bricks a year, but even with a target of 200,000 new houses a year, we import 300 million bricks. If we want to build 300,000 houses, we need to build new brick factories or we will have to import bricks from all over the world, and that is not efficient. The uncertainty for energy-intensive users needs to be removed as soon as possible so that investment can go in and we can be self-sufficient in bricks and tiles.

I welcome the national productivity investment fund of £30 billion. Some of that money is already supporting the 6 million square feet SEGRO warehousing development in the north of my constituency. That will create 11,000 jobs. Unemployment in my constituency has fallen since 2010 by 70%, youth unemployment is down by 80% and only 470 people are on the unemployment register. Those jobs need to go out to the cities of Derby, Nottingham and Leicester, and we need better public transport to give people access to the jobs that we are creating. The continued cuts in corporation tax will ensure that businesses in my constituency and across the country continue to create the jobs and the wealth we need in the future.

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Andrew holds regular surgeries throughout the constituency.

Forthcoming surgery dates

Friday 9th March 2018 - Ashby
Ashby de la Zouch Town Council, Legion House, South Street, Ashby, Leics LE65 1BQ


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