CITB-Construction Skills urges government to investment in repairs and maintenance


CITB-Construction Skills has reiterated its call for the government to boost spending on repairs and maintenance, in order to stimulate economic growth.

Speaking at fringe event at the Conservative Party conference last night, CITB-Construction Skills deputy chair Judy Lowe said 28 million homes were in need of repair and maintenance work or energy efficiency upgrades and that this work was deliverable in the short-term in contrast to the long-term complexities of significantly boosting housing supply.

CITB-Construction Skills has made boosting investment in repairs and maintenance a key part of the Construction4Growth campaign.

On the cost of investing in the construction sector, Lowe said: “The answer, Ladies and Gentlemen, is that you are already paying for it.

“There are 188,000 construction workers out of employment and the cost of paying them not to work is £8bn. It has to be a no-brainer that there is a better way of spending £8bn than keeping them out of work.”

Lowe said repairs and maintenance was unglamorous and that politicians were more keen on backing one-off “iconic” projects, but said there was a clear economic case.

“These are shovel-ready projects… and of every pound you spend on construction, 90p stays locally.”

Also speaking at the event, organised by the think tank ResPublica, fellow panelist Jake Berry MP also backed construction as the most obvious sector for the government to stimulate. “We have to get Britain building again…it is the most immediate thing you can do to kickstart the economy,” he said, adding that the industry could employ many apprentices and claiming that 93% of construction products used in the UK are made in this country.