Business secretary also shies away from discussion of single construction minister

Business secretary John Hutton has refused to confirm that the construction levy will stay in place.

When asked to pledge that the levy would continue by Conservative MP Henry Bellingham, Hutton said merely that it was a “very tough question”.

John Hutton

He directed Bellingham, in whose constituency CITB-Constructionskills and the national construction college are based, to Skills Secretary John Denham.

Speaking at BERR’s construction industry questions, Hutton said: “I am happy to express my appreciation and respect for the work that is done in [Bellingham’s] constituency by the CITB, which does an excellent job in sustaining the skills of the construction sector. As he will know, questions to do with the levy are a matter for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Universities, Innovation and Skills.”

Hutton also refused to discuss calls for a single construction minister by Liberal Democrat MP Roger Williams.

Williams said: “Many of the industry's stakeholders despair at the fact that no single minister is responsible for construction. The responsibility is spread between a number of ministers and departments... The construction industry deserves a single minister. When will the secretary of state deliver on that?”

But Hutton replied that Baroness Vadera, the seventh construction minister in as many years, had responsibility for the construction sector, and would not be drawn further on the matter.