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Better news for UK economy but no public service relief in Spring Statement

14 March 2018

Chancellor Philip Hammond painted a broadly positive picture for the UK economy in his Spring Statement yesterday, but stated that caution would continue on spending.

There were further announcements that are expected to impact on the FM sector in varying measures, although restrictions on public services are expected to continue.

A number of councils have expressed concern over budget shortfalls in recent months, leading to reductions in various services delivered by both in-house teams and FM providers.

There was more positive news in the announcement that an additional £80m will be made available to support SMEs engaging in apprenticeships.

The launch of a consultation on late payment is also expected to help small businesses, many of which will be specialist service providers to the FM sector.

Recent issues, including the collapse of Carillion, have revealed the vulnerability of small firms and many will welcome further efforts to support SMEs with the added benefit of strengthening the FM supply chain.

Mr Hammond has also indicated that more funding will be provided to the NHS in future, although no further details were revealed.

The main focus of his statement was that the UK economy was continuing to grow, despite the impact of Brexit, raising the growth forecast from 1.4% to 1.5% for 2018.

Further growth is expected at the rate of 1.3% over the next two years.

He also stated that debt as a proportion of GDP would continue to fall over the next five years.

There was widespread criticism from opposition parties, particularly for the continuing focus on austerity and its impact on public services.

Caution was advised by the Office for Budget Responsibility, stating that the full impact of Brexit would not be known until negotiations have been completed.

The government is additionally continuing to consider a tax on single use plastic, following widespread concerns emerging over the material's increasing impact on the global environment.

This will have a number of implications for the FM sector, although further analysis will be required when more details are announced to determine the full effect.

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