A week after the emergency Budget we put together a panel of experts to look at the small print and answer your questions, here’s what they said…

This lunchtime over 45 building.co.uk users joined an online live question and answer session with panel of construction experts who, since the Budget last week, have been looking at the detail behind the government announcement.

During the debate, online users posted 20 questions to the panel on a range of topics from the future of Building Schools for the Future programme and major infrastructure projects, to the impact of the VAT rise and future job losses on construction.

On hand to answer these questions were our panel, made up of the following experts:

  • Graham Kean, head of public at EC Harris
  • Noble Francis, economics director at the Construction Products Association
  • Ian Hyder, tax partner at Pinsent Masons
  • Hartley Foster, partner at Olswang

When asked about the fallout from the spending cuts, Noble Francis said: “the extent of the spending cuts and the speed may mean that the three year construction recession (2008-10) is extended into 2011 and possibly 2012”.

On BSF, Francis said the programme was likely to be hit quite hard by the Autumn Spending Review. He said:” The National Audit Office stated that BSF, in total, would cost £52-55 billion over 15 years. That is finance the public sector just don’t have anymore.”

Ian Hyde replied to questions on tax rises, saying: “The Coalition has preserved most of the “jobs tax” National Insurance increase and the 20% VAT rate will hit VAT exempt sectors such as banks, insurers and universities for whom it will be a 2.5% increase in cost.”

Hartley Foster added that a further rise in VAT in the next few years could not be ruled out.

One reader asked when public sector spending would rise again. In response Graham Kean said: “I think it will be a very long time before we see the level of public spending that we have experienced over the past few years. Certainly not within the current term, so my guess would be 6-8 years minimum.”

To read the full transcript of the debate simply click on this link: http://www.building.co.uk/emergency-budget-debate/5001865.article