Industry experts have called on the government to provide clearer details of its pledge to bring forward public spending on construction projects to combat the recession, amid fears that is recycling old commitments.
Chancellor Alistair Darling last weekend pledged to bring forward spending due for 2010-11 to next year, when the downturn is expected to hit the industry hardest. Although cuts to public spending in the longer term are probable, the move would improve the present position of the industry.
Although the Construction Products Association has welcomed the move in principle, Simon Storer, its external affairs director, said he was concerned that it could still mean a lower level of spending in the period than pledged in the 2007 Comprehensive Spending Review. This earmarked £70bn of spending between 2007 and 2011. Such an outcome would be caused by existing delays in building programmes in sectors such as education and healthcare.
Storer said: “We need to see more detail on these proposals.” He added that, given the strong workload in healthcare and education, which have been touted as the most likely areas to be brought forward, it could be more practical for the government to consider bolstering spending on other areas, such as infrastructure.