Sector - Consultancy

Consumer Confidence Key in Recovery

In this latest feature from Simon Ayers, TrustMark CEO, he speaks about how consumer confidence will be the key in the construction sectors recovery after the Coronavirus pandemic

There’s no denying it, the construction industry has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. Workers have been laid off or furloughed, and investment has been restricted.

Recent figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), which show the construction industry had its worse month for output since records began, made grim reading.

But there are signs of life and there is light at the end of the tunnel. The Chancellor recently set out his plans for a £2billion investment in green home grants, which includes a voucher scheme to improve the energy efficiency of the UK’s homes and investment in the energy efficiency of social housing. He focused on a green recovery with an emphasis on job retention and creation, apprenticeships and trainee schemes as well as relief through tax-related areas. This has all been welcomed by TrustMark and others across the energy and industry sector.

There are certainly questions surrounding the implementation of these schemes however, this investment coupled with another recent announcement that £1.8million will be available to support the development of green home finance options, will help protect jobs and create new opportunities for businesses to retrain and grow.

The support for homeowners to carry out insulation and other retrofit measures around their homes is also good news. The only way to have a realistic chance of meeting the Government’s carbon neutral 2050 deadline is to improve the energy efficiency of the homes we already have, so this investment from the government is an important step in achieving that goal and starting the development of a long-term plan to retrofit a high percentage of the UK’s homes.

It is clear however, that consumer confidence is key in getting the construction industry back up and running to full capacity, enabling it to make its full contribution to the country’s economic recovery. There are still some homeowners who are reluctant to have work done in around their homes while social distancing and lockdown restrictions are still in place, even if they have been lessened slightly. And even though tradespeople have received various guidelines about how they carry out their work in a safe manner, very little has been given to the consumer about what they need to do before, during and after work is carried out in and around their home.

Working with BEIS, TrustMark developed the Work Safe, Safe Work campaign to instill confidence in the consumer that work can be carried out in and around their home in a safe and COVID-secure manner. The practical and easy to understand information sets out clear expectations – after all, it is a joint responsibility to ensure everyone is protected.

This information coupled with the new measures set out by the Chancellor will help hopefully incentivise homeowners to have work done on their properties and start paving the way for the construction industry’s recovery.

There is still a long way to go and we believe retrofit roadmap needs to be developed for the industry to follow, so we are working to the same goal and delivering quality work that consumers can trust. We will be working with and collaborating across the energy and construction sectors to rebuild consumer confidence, ensure businesses are supported and consumers can rely on the traders that carry out work in and around their homes making them fit for the future.”

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