Exclusive: New ‘single voice’ campaign brings sector together to make the case for investment in construction to drive growth
The construction industry has come together in a major new campaign to persuade the government to invest in construction to drive economic growth, Building can reveal.
The campaign, called Construction4Growth, is being organised by CITB-Construction Skills, and is backed by over 700 senior industry representatives, as well as a host of industry bodies, including the UK Contractors Group (UKCG), the Federation of Master Builders, the National Federation of Builders, the National Specialist Contractors’ Council, CECA, the Home Builders Federation, and the CBI.
Construction4Growth builds on UKCG’s Creating Britain’s Future campaign, launched in July - backed by Building magazine - which aims to make the case for investment in construction as a driver of economic growth, with every £1 invested in construction generating a total of £2.84 in economic activity.
The campaign, which will be launched nationally on 11 September, comes as the government finalised the details of a wide-ranging ministerial reshuffle that saw a clutch of new ministers appointed to key posts, including the appointment of Paul Deighton, chief executive of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (Locog), to a role in the Treasury overseeing the government’s infrastructure push.
The government also today announced a package of measures aimed at boosting infrastructure and housing, including further reforms to the planning system.
James Wates, chair of CITB-ConstructionSkills, welcomed the latest growth push from the government. He said the Construction4Growth campaign was aimed at enabling the industry to speak with one voice and drive home messages about the contribution the industry makes to the economy.
He said: “The Construction industry can be trusted to help push the UK economy back to growth - and that’s what C4G is all about -speaking and working together to do just that.
“The industry welcomes government’s recent investment in construction, but it must start to deliver now to reap the economic benefits and long-term growth potential.
“Strategic investment now will help get Britain working by creating hundreds of thousands of jobs in construction, kick-starting the economy nationally and in the regions.”
Mark Farrar, CITB-Construction Skills chief executive, said: “With the right investment at the right time construction holds the keys to a return to economic stability and growth.
“The campaign will ensure that the industry is able to present a united front to government to underline the economic importance of the industry and position it as a route out of the recession able to deliver jobs and sustainable skills to support the country.
“The aim is to ensure that the government’s construction promises are met and enlist its support in delivering a vibrant construction industry.”
The campaign will call for greater investment in construction to drive growth and create jobs, particularly through short-term investment in housing, repair and maintenance projects. It will also call for the government to finalise vocational education policy and support skills and training opportunities in schools, apprenticeships and into higher education.
The campaign will also lobby to ensure the government’s flagship Green Deal programme is rolled out successfully in order create a new market in “green” jobs.
As exclusively revealed by Building this week, industry leaders have written to the government warning ministers that delays to the Green Deal could see the loss of nearly half of jobs across the industry next year.
The new C4G campaign comes as the construction industry gears up to lobby a new set of ministers, with UKCG this week writing an open letter (see attached, right) to a host of ministers across government, including business secretary Vince Cable and education secretary Michael Gove, as well as new housing minister Mark Prisk, business minister Michael Fallon, Treasury minister Paul Deighton and transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin.
The letter called for the government to act on five key points:
- Move forward the implementation of the UK Guarantees Scheme and work with the construction industry to boost infrastructure and housing to bring forward the pipeline of projects published with the last Autumn statement;
- Provide early signals on the level of public investment and the construction pipeline in the next government spending period;
- Make an early announcement on the future of the Private Finance Initiative
- Provide clarity over the future direction of policy on the expansion of airport capacity in London and the South-East to ensure the UK is positioned for economic growth and investment, and
- Continue to work with us to help create more apprenticeship opportunities within the industry.
The UKCG added: “We want to help you speed up decision making and find new ways of financing construction projects. Above all we want to help you find ways of growing the economy again.”
construction4growth campaign: key messages
Construction is the route out of recession:
- The UK construction industry is valued at approximately £100 billion, employs around 2.1 million people and accounts for approximately 8% of the entire UK workforce
- Including its supply chain, the UK construction sector employs almost 3 million people in total, contributing 13% GDP
- Every £1 spent on construction output generates a total of £2.84 in total economic activity
Government investment in infrastructure is welcomed across industry, but immediate measures to stimulate growth sooner are needed:
- With the right policy framework to support growth across the Medium Sized Business sector, the UK construction industry could make an additional economic contribution of approximately £1.4bn to the economy, creating thousands of new jobs in the process.
A well-trained and qualified workforce makes the UK more productive:
- A better skilled workforce creates greater innovation, entrepreneurship and productivity.
We need to retain talent in local communities across the UK to ensure construction flourishes at every level:
- The national figure for new apprentices completing courses has fallen 42% over the last four years to 8,000 and industry must ensure it has the sufficient level of skilled workers to carry out future projects, including nuclear power and green energy.We must support apprenticeships in construction as a ‘gold standard’ for other sectors to follow.
Green for growth -‘Done well, the Green Deal can boost growth and jobs in construction’:
- Government estimates that the number of people employed in insulation alone as part of Green Deal could soar from 27,000 to 100,000 by 2015, eventually rising to a peak of 250,000 by 2022.
- Government has pledged support of approximately £1.3bn a year to deliver energy efficiency and heating measures to help tackle fuel poverty and climate change. In addition, there will be extra support for up to 230,000 homes on low incomes.
The Green Deal will only work if the public is aware, confident and incentivised to take up the scheme:
- To ensure consumer confidence in the Green Deal, it is vital that only accredited measures are installed by appropriately-qualified installers.
The Green Deal can provide business growth opportunities for construction SMEs:
- Products installed under the Green Deal must be safe, reliable, capable of performing and meet minimum health and safety and performance standards set out in European and domestic legislation.
- Government aims to reduce carbon emissions by 34% by 2020 and with 47% of all UK carbon emissions connected to the built environment - including houses, offices, power stations, and transport infrastructure - there is huge scope and opportunity for growth across industry in working with government to meet these targets.
Robust qualifications and accreditation will be vital to ensure against ‘cowboy builders’ operating as Green Deal providers:
- Government will continue to work with employers and the sector skills councils to ensure that the wider apprenticeship frameworks support not only the Green Deal, but also green and sustainable construction more generally.
- Government is investing £3.5m to train up to 1,000 Green Deal insulation installers, and 1,000 Green Deal assessors to the new national occupational standard for Green Deal assessment.
Your new ministers…
An investment banker and Locog chief executive, he joins the Treasury team in charge of economic delivery and infrastructure. Expected to head the UK Guarantees scheme as well as the government’s replacement PFI scheme.
Replaces Grant Shapps as housing minister. A former chartered surveyor, he was previously in the business department as construction minister.
Replaces Prisk as business minister and is expected to take on the construction brief. A “big beast”, Fallon will be expected to carry more weight within the business department.
Replaces Greg Clark as planning minister. Founded the think tank Policy Exchange and entered parliament at the last election. He is considered a loyal “Cameroon” moderniser.
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