The Conservative Party plans a spring assault on the government's construction policies under the banner of "A Fair Deal for Construction".
News of the initiative emerged last week after former home secretary Michael Howard was named as leader.

The party is now developing its construction policies, which are likely to include the reintroduction of a construction minister in a Department of Commerce.

Shadow minister for industry Henry Bellingham said the purpose of the Department of Commerce would be to promote enterprise, in contrast to the DTI, which the Tories say stifles business with red tape.

Bellingham said: "Fair Deal for Construction is important as construction is one of the drivers of the economy. It is a big and very visible employer. My concern is that we have not been providing effective opposition up until now."

He said the construction campaign would fall under an overall Fair Deal for Industry initiative, one of several proposed initiatives, including a Fair Deal for Transport and a Fair Deal for Local Government. Bellingham also disclosed that the party intended to advocate that VAT be lowered for certain types of construction work.

Howard plans to give more power to junior shadow ministers as he named a streamlined shadow cabinet this week.