Builders’ plea to Downing Street

Construction firms are calling for Government support to preserve jobs and skills
Construction firms are calling for Government support to preserve jobs and skills
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FYLDE coast construction firms have joined a national drive to urge the Government to support the industry.

It comes as figures published today reveal that construction in the North West suffered a 13 per cent fall in output in 2012 – one of its most difficult periods since the Second World War

The Construction Skills Network (CSN) report – the industry’s annual forecast by CITB-ConstructionSkills – shows the difficulties the North West’s construction sector faced last year.

The report also shows the outlook for the North West will continue to be discouraging.

According to CSN figures, the North West construction industry will see a decline in output growth of 0.4 per cent per year between now and 2017. The fall in growth and employment for the area is being attributed to the scaling back of Government spending on public non-housing projects; this includes the building of schools and hospitals.

The reduction in investment is likely to see a decline of 12.3 per cent in public non-housing sector in the period up to 2017 – this sector makes up 16 per cent of the region’s total output. To add to this, the public housing sector is also set to shrink by 1.4 per cent.

Steve Housden, sector strategy manager for CITB-ConstructionSkills in the North West, said: “Although Blackpool has some major construction projects such as the £220m Central Business District and the building work at the hospital, generally construction found itself at the heart of a ‘perfect storm’ in 2012 – hit hard by a combination of public sector spending cuts and a lack of investment in the private sector.

“Client and consumer confidence are low and are keeping growth levels down. We need the Government to take the lead in boosting confidence in the future so that the private sector will invest in construction projects.

“The reduction in investment for public sector non-housing is a large blow to the regional industry. They say that for every £1 of public money spent it generates £2.84 for the local economy. ”

More than 1,400 construction bodies have joined CITB-ConstructionSkills’ Construction4Growth campaign. Tomorrow, a deputation from the campaign will meet Ministers at an 11 Downing Street Summit, where a 10 point plan will be tabled calling on Government to actively support the industry.