“A Conservative government giving power back to the people of Britain. And driving prosperity and greater fairness across our United Kingdom.”
A bold statement from “Spreadsheet Phil” as he delivered, a relatively safe, Autumn Budget to the nation.
Despite the gloomy forecast for the economy, the transport and infrastructure industries can welcome some positive news.
So how did it compare with our predictions last week?
Hammond gave a cursory nod towards Crossrail 2, devoting one line highlighting the Government’s commitment to working with TfL on financing the mega project.
As expected, to balance out the investment in the south, he announced a pledge of £1.7bn to the new Transforming Cities Fund for local infrastructure connectivity, which will be particularly well received by the six areas with elected metro mayors, who will receive half of this, allowing them the ability to deliver on local transport initiatives.
As will the £300 million to ensure HS2 infrastructure can accommodate future Northern Powerhouse and Midlands Engine rail improvements and the investment of £337 million to replace the 40-year-old rolling stock on the Tyne and Wear Metro at.
Unsurprisingly, Hammond recognised the need for the country to remain a forerunner in technology and connectivity, investing over £500m in Artificial Intelligence, 5G and full fibre broadband.
An additional £15.3bn of new financial support for house building over the next five years has been pledged. This takes the total investment to £44 billion, although many commentators are sceptical until the detail is forthcoming. Included in the figure is £1.2 billion for the government to buy land to build more homes, £2.7 billion for infrastructure that will support housing and £8bn of new financial guarantees to support private housebuilding and the purpose-built private rented sector.
Importantly, the Chancellor has recognised that houses don’t build themselves and with Brexit significantly worsening the construction skills gap, he has committed an additional £34m to develop construction skills across the country.
Clean Air & Electric Cars
Significantly more time was dedicated to the green economy than we’ve seen in previous Budgets. A new £220 million Clean Air Fund is to be established to support local air quality plans. This will be funded through an increase in tax on new diesel cars.
As for electric cars, a new £400m charging infrastructure fund has been established, as well as an extra £100 million in Plug-In-Car Grant, and £40 million in charging R&D.
It was also confirmed that people who charge their electric vehicles at work will not face a benefit-in-kind charge from next year.
All of this talk of a country that’s “fit for the future” was somewhat undermined by announcements to freeze tax increases on petrol and diesel fuel duty and short-haul air passenger flights, along with the confirmation of further tax breaks for the North Sea oil and gas industry.
That’s the country’s budget, but what about yours?
As the end of the year rolls nearer, many of our clients are starting to take a look at their own budgets for 2018 and are putting their recruitment plans in place for the year ahead.
It can be easy to overlook the company’s strategy for talent acquisition, or put it off until it’s a critical requirement.
With most senior managers on notice periods of three to six months, this doesn’t make business sense.
If you haven’t started to plan your approach for 2018 yet, then here’s why you need to.
1. To get ahead of the competition
The added investment outlined in the budget doesn’t exclusively benefit you. Your competition will be looking to bring on board more senior hires to fulfil new projects and develop strategies for the coming year. By preparing early, you ensure that you have the pick of the market before the best talent gets snapped up by rival firms.
2. Get input from all stakeholders
Starting the process well in advance means that you have plenty of time to get input from all relevant parties and refine the job specification to the companies exact needs.
Waiting until you have an urgent need for a new Director means that you don’t have this luxury and may not end up with the right person for the job.
3. Notice periods
If you want to poach the best people in the market, you have to expect that their current employer isn’t going to want to give them up without a fight. Notice periods are usually 3 months for senior levels but can six months to a year, and aren’t always negotiable.
By delaying your search for the perfect Executive until the New Year, you could be delaying your plans for 2018.
Get ahead of the market and start planning your search for executive talent now. To see how we can help click HERE.