Building’s Charter 284 campaign aims to leave the political parties in no doubt as to the economic and social benefits of investing in construction work
- 1. Complete the renewal of the school estate
- 2. Don’t let spending on transport infrastructure fall more than 10% below current levels
- 3. Reduce the regulatory burden on the housing sector to encourage more development
- 4. Give householders incentives to green existing homes
- 5. Prioritise the development of renewable and nuclear energy through incentives for private sector investment
Building’s Charter 284 campaign aims to leave the political parties in no doubt as to the economic and social benefits of investing in construction work. The title is drawn from the fact that, according to a report by economic consultant LEK, every £1 invested in construction leads to £2.84 of GDP. Spending will have to be cut, and choices made, but as the parties ponder what to put on the block, we’ve picked out five areas where continued expenditure will best help the competitiveness of UK plc. Over the next five weeks, we’ll be examining each of these in detail, beginning this week with the plight of schools. To show your support for our campaign, or for any of these areas, sign up at www.building/charter284.
Why I’m backing 284
I’m delighted to support Building’s campaign. Let me make clear from the start, this is not a case of special pleading on behalf of my firm or the industry. So let me put the LEK report into context.
UK Contractors Group members have been continuously frustrated that government does not take construction seriously. It is easy to understand why. We are fragmented, with more than 300,000 firms, many of whom are SMEs. And, because of the nature of our industry, we have few permanent bases in MPs’ constituencies. Yet we provide 3 million jobs and produce about 10% of the UK’s GDP. Moreover, construction investment is not just immediate consumption. It provides long-term economic and social benefits.
We have all known this for years but nobody bothered to muster the economic arguments to prove the case. That is what we have done through the LEK report. £1 = £2.84 is a powerful message. It also provides a solid case to put to our politicians. It would be all too easy for a new government to cut back on capital investment when the effects might not be seen so immediately – and damage the UK’s long-term competitiveness. My congratulations to Building for mounting this campaign. I urge the whole industry to get behind it.
James Wates, chairman, UK Contractors Group, deputy chairman of Wates