Portland, Oregon to tackle housing crisis with approved tax
With house prices being out of reach for a lot of young buyers alongside a growing economy, rising rents, reduced vacancies and increased numbers of homelessness, Portland City Council alongside its voters have approved a one percent tax on all commercial and residential constructions in order to successfully fund future housing projects and support the local community, commencing from August 2016 in a $258 million bond.
Portland City Commissioner Dan Saltzman told Oregon Public Broadcasting that the new imposed tax will raise approximately $8 million per year. With a growth rate of 1.72 percent in Portland’s population, the housing crisis has recently become an issue that no one can ignore.
The tax accumulated through this scheme will help support families or those who earn less than the median family income, governed by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development. With the construction and acquirement of over a thousand affordable housing units, around 600 would be targeted for families or individuals who have incomes below 30 percent of the total median income for families, $22,000 for a family of four, or $15,000 for individual persons.
Read the June 2016 issue of Construction Global magazine
217,000 extra workers needed to meet COVID-19 recovery
As the construction industry’s recovery progresses, the Construction Industry Training Board’s (CITB) Construction Skills Network (CSN) forecasts have led the organisation to believe the industry will reach 2019 levels of output in 2022.
The CSN says there will be an increase in the number of construction workers in “most English regions” by 2025, with demands forecasted at a 1.7% rise for the East Midlands, and a 1.4% rise for the West Midlands.
Scotland and Wales are also predicted to see a surge in demand for construction workers with a total increase of 1.4% and 0.7% respectively. The North East is the only region to see a slight decline in workforce demand at -0.1%.
Wood and interior fit-out trades among the most desirable during COVID-19
According to CSN’s forecast, the trades that are the most wanted are those of wood and interior fit-outs, with both requiring around 5,500 workers per year. Other in-demand trades include technical staff and other construction professionals, requiring 5,150 workers each year, construction managers at 3,600, and the electrical installation trade, which requires 3,400 staff per year.
There is also expected to be demand for 7,850 non-construction, office-based professionals and technical and IT support staff each year. Steve Radley, Policy Director at CITB, said: “It’s great to see construction coming back so strongly and creating lots of job opportunities.
“We need to adopt new approaches to meet these growing skills needs and deliver these quickly. We are working closely with the government and FE to build better bridges between FE and work and make apprenticeships more flexible. We are also making significant investments in supporting work experience that make it easier for employers to bring in new blood.
“We must also make sure that we invest in the skills that will drive change and meet new and growing needs such as Net Zero emissions and Building Safety. We will be announcing plans soon to tackle specific skills and occupations such as leadership and management, digital skills, and skills related to energy efficiency”, he said.