Former construction minister Nick Raynsford is to lead an economic council set up by the industry to provide a single point of contact with government during the financial crisis.

The Strategic Forum is to establish the council, which will include representatives from contracting, manufacturing, consultancy and architecture. It will resemble Gordon Brown’s National Economic Council which draws together representatives from across government to focus on economic issues.

Graham Watts, chief executive of the Construction Industry Council, said that because of its diverse membership the body would be able to provide the government with a snapshot of the economic health of the construction industry far quicker than statistics produced by trade bodies, which could date quickly in the volatile economic climate.

He added: “We know there’s got to be some compromise on public sector spending and this means we can give advice on comparative priorities as far as the industry is concerned, in terms of our relative resources.”

Membership of the group was still being confirmed as Building went to press on Wednesday. It is expected to include representatives from trade bodies and individual firms.