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Blue moon rising

For anyone who didn’t brave the angry pig-wielding protestors and make it into the Conservative Party conference, how about a handy round up of the main announcements affecting the construction sector?

Well, we live to serve, so here goes:

Housing

No surprises that housing formed a major part of David Cameron’s speech in Manchester this morning.

What came out of the blue, however, was a radical change to housing policy which will effectively see the scrapping of planning authorities’ obligation to provide affordable rented homes.

Instead, developers will be able to offer ‘starter homes’ as affordable housing, which offers homes to first-time buyers under the age of 40, at a 20 per cent discount.

Mr Cameron described the move as a transition from “Generation Rent to Generation Buy”.

Infrastructure

On Monday, “our Iron Chancellor” (in Cameron’s words) launched a new infrastructure commission to be led by former Labour transport secretary Lord Adonis.

While positive news for industry, there were a few words of caution, including from Horizon Nuclear Power head of policy Benjamin Russell, who raised concerns over the short-term impact of the commission.

Prisons

Following on from justice secretary Michael Gove’s comments earlier this year, the PM backed plans to reform the UK’s prison estate.

He said: “And when our prisons are relics from the time of Dickens – it’s time to sell them off and build new ones that actually work.”

Northern powerhouse

One for all of you “non-supporters” out there, who think the Northern powerhouse will never happen…

Northern powerhouse minister James Wharton told Tory delegates this week insisted it would not be “derailed”.

He also said projects that support the Northern powerhouse are more likely to be backed by the Treasury.

Education

Mr Cameron reiterated Tory plans to build more free schools in the UK.

The PM said he was “passionate” about academies and free schools and wanted 500 new free schools across the country.

“Every school an academy and yes local authorities running schools a thing of the past,” he said.

Meaanwhile, away from Manchester…

Blacklisted construction workers have “celebrated a major breakthrough” after being given ‘core participant’ status in the Pitchford Inquiry into undercover policing.

A contractor has been selected to build a £70m mixed-use scheme in Greater Manchester.

Got 10 minutes?

CN takes an in-depth look at Aintree hospital’s £27m urgent care & trauma centre, which was built by Bam Construction.

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