PFI work will provide a fillip for Wales and the North over the next two years at least, says a new regional forecast.
Construction Regions by forecasters Hewes & Associates estimates a 10% growth in the North and 11% in Wales in 2002. The report notes that workloads fell 8% this year in the North, but expects PFI to boost demand in the future. Demand for infrastructure contracts is expected to rise after next year as the effects of government spending have an effect. Public non-housing is also expected to grow.

Wales also witnessed a 7% fall in work this year, but this trend is expected to be reversed with the value of work expected to rise 11% to £1.7bn in 2002. The market for infrastructure and commercial work, including PFI schemes, is expected to strengthen because of transport investment, growing to £400m.

Workloads are also improving in the East Midlands. Private house building is expected to remain strong, but a growth in road work and increased public funding is expected to lead to a 7% growth in infrastructure and other schemes to £2.7bn by 2002.

Work in East Anglia is expected to fall. Growth this year of 14% will slow to zero next year before rising to 2% in 2002. Lack of large road projects is a cause for concern.

Yorkshire and Humberside is expected to remain stable as there is little growth in the private housing market and demand for infrastructure projects is expected to level off. Moderate growth is expected in the North-west and West Midlands.

In London and the South-east growth will plateau as demand for private housing slows, although the public housing market is expected to strengthen. Growth in the South-west will slow to 1% next year but accelerated to 6% in 2002 as the commercial building market strengthens.