Industry leaders come together to back national campaign.
The deputy prime minister’s office will be meeting the leaders of the Creating Britain’s Future campaign to discuss promotion of the industry’s capabilities.
The campaign, led by the UK Contractors Group and launched to the industry at the Construction News Awards on Tuesday, was today given a national press launch. Shadow Olympics minister Dame Tessa Jowell, who spoke at the launch, called for cross-party support of the campaign.
Contractors have already erected or ordered 90 posters to display on site hoardings at high profile sites across London, to capture the attention of investors, visitors, politicians and residents during the Olympics.
UKCG chairman James Wates told Construction News that he has already had a “positive response” form Nick Clegg’s office.
“We are engaging with the deputy prime minister’s office as a starting point and we will continue to build the level of communication we have with the policy makers and decision makers to ensure we do get the focus no the industry that we need.
“We will be meeting with his (Nick Clegg’s) office. We have had a positive response to a letter I wrote to him.”
At the national press launch Kier chief executive Paul Sheffield, who came up with the idea for the campaign, told Construction News editor Rebecca Evans in an on-stage interview that while the industry realises the government is short on funds, it can do more to encourage private sector investment, such as providing guarantees bother for infrastructure and social Housing.
Ms Jowell – who was part of the winning Olympic bid team – spoke of the need for a cross-party approach to support. She said: “If we can achieve that then I think this campaign will suit it.”
Ms Jowell added: “It is very hard to talk about growth in the UK economy without talking about the potential contribution of the construction industry.”
Mr Wates also reiterated the importance of a cross-party response, pointing out that it had been achieved with CITB Construction Skills.
“I can see the difficulty with ministers being cross-party but something as important as growth in the UK economy, which everybody recognises we need, needs to be cross party.
“Construction is such a critical factor in that potential growth, that we really should get cross party support for the industry.”
Last week, the UKCG, Mr Sheffield, Wates CEO Paul Dreschler and government construction adviser Paul Morrell met with business secretary Vince Cable to discuss the role of construction in economic growth.
Much of the conversation centred on how to encourage private finance in social housing, with the prospect of local authorities providing guarantees to financiers whose investment will be returned through rents.
This morning, Rhian Kelly, director of the business environment directive at the CBI, said the central challenges are dealing decisively with private investment, on PFI and pension funds; making bold decisions on major projects and aviation capacity; and creating jobs quickly through areas such as RMI work.
Ms Kelly also spoke about the need to move faster on the Green Deal and Priority Schools Building Programme.