Will we have the builders the Chancellor needs?

One good piece of news from the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement was that thousands of job opportunities will be created for freelance workers through a raft of new infrastructure and building opportunities.

Funding totalling more than £7bn has been provided for schemes ranging from 400,000 new homes to electrification of rail lines in the north.

The headline grabber in the spending review was £2.3bn being provided to housebuilders to create thousands of new affordable homes. For contractors in the construction sector this will lead to a wealth of new opportunities and is a huge boost for an industry that is still recovering from a brutal recession.

Infrastructure improvements across the country will create opportunities across a wealth of specialisms and a £1bn funding package of support for fracking has the potential to compensate for any losses in the oil and gas sector.

Massive investment in digitising the tax system will create opportunities for IT contractors and clearance for 26 new enterprise zones will attract inward investment and create a wide variety of freelance opportunities.

Danbro has welcomed the wealth of new opportunities being created for contractors but fears moves to restrict travel expense claims and continuing confusion over the use of intermediaries and being forced onto the payroll of some employers could  prevent people from acting as freelance workers in the future.

Managing director of Danbro, Damian Broughton, says, “The budget did little to clear confusion for this sector but it did bring good news in the form of massive investment.

From building new homes and prisons to clearing the way for a wealth of infrastructure projects, this spending review was good news for the UK’s flexible workforce.

We will see thousand of new opportunities in every sector and that has to be welcomed.

However, the Chancellor shouted out ‘we are the builders’ and my fear is that he won’t have the people he needs to realise those ambitions. Our research suggests many people will turn their back on contracting if they can’t claim travel expenses.”

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