Emily Wright cornered the construction minister Mark Prisk, at the Tory party conference this week…

Mark Prisk … on construction: “It certainly hasn’t been an easy year, has it? But there are measures in place now to help. There is the new £200bn infrastructure plan and we are spending £150m on new transport schemes. And there’s the housing market to tide people over until these more long-term plans take shape. So there are good news stories out there. We have so much expertise in the UK and I think we need to export this more. It’s clear to me that the Middle East and China will be increasingly looking to the UK for expertise. Here in the UK the main opportunities for construction are in health, education and social housing and the industry really has a major part to play in the the growth of the UK economy. We’re striving to get Britain building again.”

… on stepping back: “When it comes to ensuring we foster enterprise in this country, I am trying desperately hard to step back and not to run everything. There is pressure from government to do this and to be involved but I don’t think I need to do that. I want to create an environment in which businesses can do it for themselves, run their own shows. I am trying to create some distance and delegate power.”

… on Europe: “In terms of Euro funds I think we were seeing money go to places where no one can actually say or see where it has ended up. But one thing I would add is that if we are part of the game, I want to make sure we get our fair share. And I will.”