The last 12 months have been jam-packed for the UK’s tradespeople, but what will 2017 bring? We’ve gathered together our top predictions for the year ahead.
2017 looks bright for tradesmen
While 2016 included many twists and turns, it was a pretty good year in general for the UK’s tradespeople, with growth in the construction industry and many high-demand workers finding they were able to up their rates.
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What does 2017 look like for builders, carpenters, plumbers and other trades? Well, there are plenty of signs that high demand and short supply will continue, so it’s likely to be another busy year for many.
1. Construction growth to continue
Uncertainty surrounding Britain’s exit from the EU makes it difficult to predict what will happen to the construction industry, and it’s unclear whether housebuilding will continue at the same fast pace that we saw at the end of 2016.
But the UK still has a severe housing shortage, and in his 2016 Autumn Statement Chancellor Philip Hammond announced a new £2.3 billion ‘housing infrastructure fund’ to help build up to 100,000 new homes, so there’s hope that construction will keep growing.
2. Tradesman wages to stay buoyant
In early 2016, tradesmen were feeling really positive about the future, with 91 per cent looking forward to a good year.
There’s no sign of the skills shortage letting up, so 2017 is likely to see high rates and healthy demand continue for the UK’s skilled tradespeople.
3. A robot won’t steal your job… just yet
Back in the autumn, Land Securities chairperson Alison Carnwath was warning that the era of robot builders was almost here, and that this would have a serious impact on builders. But while robot builder Hadrian X is capable of laying up to 1,000 bricks an hour, it seems unlikely that 2017 will see a robot coming for your job.
4. Your van could get even more costly
Although the Chancellor told us in autumn that the fuel duty increase will be postponed again, high oil prices and a weak pound mean that it will continue to be expensive to run a vehicle.
The cost of diesel has been rising and things could get even more pricey in future, as there are plans to introduce ‘Clean Air Zones’ in several UK cities, which means that diesel drivers will have to pay charges to enter. The London roll-out is expected in 2017, with other cities including Birmingham and Leeds to follow in the next few years.
In a recent Simply Business poll, 80 per cent of respondents said that the self-employed should be exempt from these clean-air charges - do you agree?
How are you feeling about 2017? Tell us in the comments.