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Construction Parliamentary Update - 05 September

A round up of all the construction news from Westminster over the last seven days brought to you by the Madano Partnership.


Prime Minister Gordon Brown spoke to the Scottish CBI (Speech Database). (04 September)

In his speech to the Scottish Parliament, Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond announced the Scottish Government’s programme for Government 2008/09. The Scottish Government intends to introduce a Council Tax Abolition Bill, a Flood Risk Management (Scotland) Bill, a Rural Schools Bill and a Public Services Reform Bill (Press Release). (03 September)

The Scottish Parliament, the Northern Ireland Assembly and the European Parliament returned from their summer recesses. (01 September)

The Government suffered embarrassment after Chancellor Alistair Darling’s comment that Britain was facing “arguably the worst” economic slump in 60 years. Some papers blamed Darling for Sterling’s subsequent drop in value. Conservative Shadow Chancellor George Osbourne said that the Chancellor had “let the cat out of the bag” (Press Release). (31 August)


Scottish Enterprise appointed Sarah Deas as chief executive of Co-operative Development Scotland (CDS), a subsidiary of Scottish Enterprise which aims to grow the Scottish co-operative business sector (Press Release). (04 September)

The Public Accounts Committee published its report ‘HM Treasury: Making changes in operational PFI projects’. It said many public sector authorities are "not doing a good job" of managing PFI contracts and that management was important as well as the original negotiation of terms. (02 September)


The Scottish Parliament debated the enforcement of planning legislation. (04 September)

A consortium of organisations from the third sector formed to campaign for exemption from the land tax included in the Planning Bill (Third Sector). (03 September)


A joint report by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) and KPMG said that the construction job market had suffered (Press Release). (03 September)

The Department for Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform published monthly statistics on building materials and components. (03 September)

The Scottish Government published proposals to increase the energy efficiency of existing non-domestic buildings. The consultation closes on 24 November (Press Release). (02 September)

Northern Irish Ministers Gerry Kelly and Jeffrey Donaldson emphasised the importance of sustainability when speaking at the Construction Employers Federation (CEF) Specify Construction Excellence Awards 2008 in Belfast (Press Release). (02 September)


Halifax’s August House Price Index reported an annual fall in house prices of 10.9%. The Conservatives said the revelation underlined the weakness of the Government’s economic recovery plan (Press Release). (04 September)

Gordon Brown announced new measures to help first time buyers and homeowners at risk of repossession. The three-point housing plan included a new mortgage rescue scheme, a shared-equity scheme aimed at first-time buyers, and more money for affordable homes. Stamp duty will be suspended for a year on homes worth less than £175,000 (Press Release; Press Release; BBC Today). The Federation of Master Builders (FMB) bemoaned the effect of the measure on builders, and the British Property Federation (BPF) called the measures ‘questionable’ (Press Release; Press Release). The front pages unanimously decided the plans were overshadowed by indications of a coming recession (Press Reactions).

The OECD’s interim assessment concluded that amongst the G7, Britain alone faced recession. The plan reportedly caused conflict between Downing Street and the Treasury (Guardian). Conservative Shadow Chancellor George Osbourne called Government plans for Stamp Duty a “short term survival plan” (Press Release).

Liberal Democrat Leader Nick Clegg warned against a stamp duty ‘bribe’ (Press Release). The LGA said the Government should do all they could, including letting councils lend mortgages and borrow more against their assets (Press Release). The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) called on the government to kick start the housing market with a package of rescue measures and reforms (Press Release). The Institute of Fiscal Studies said the Treasury had taken an overly optimistic view of the stamp duty package’s effectiveness (Telegraph). (01 – 03 September)

The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) began an independent guidance service for consumers on the cost and effect of efficiency saving measures for homes (Press Release). (03 September)

The Scottish Rural Affairs and Environment Committee met in Melrose to take evidence as part of its rural housing inquiry (Papers). (02 September)

Bank of England figures showed mortgage approvals at 33,000 in July, down 71% from July 2007 (Reuters). Conservative Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury Philip Hammond said that families had to “put their lives on hold” because of the conditions in the market (Press Release). (01 September)

First Base and English Partnerships were awarded planning consent the ‘Heart of East Greenwich’ development on the old Greenwich District Hospital (Press Release). (01 September)

The Land Registry reported that the average house price dropped 2% in July to £178,364 (Press Release). (29 August)

Tesco withdrew from the proposed eco-town project at Hanley Grange, near Cambridge. The FMB welcomed the news (Press Release; Times). (29 August)


Partnerships for Schools (PfS) published its annual report. (02 September)

22 BSF schools opened for the first time (Press Release). (01 September)


London mayor Boris Johnson announced increases in tube and bus fares in the capital after his administration uncovered an £84m “financial hole” (Press Release). (04 September)

The Scottish Transport, Infrastructure and Climate Change Committee announced an inquiry into high speed rail links from Scotland. The submission deadline is Friday 17 October 2008. (Press Release) (04 September)

The Department for Transport (DfT) published monthly estimates on congestion on inter-urban roads. (04 September)

Environment Minister Jonathan Shaw published draft guidance on reducing airport noise and called for views. The consultation closes on Friday 28 November 2008 (Press Release; Noise Maps). (04 September)

A report by Social Research Associates Ltd concluded that the Docklands Light Railway is helping to regenerate North Woolwich (Press Release). (02 September)

The Welsh Assembly announced a consultation on the adoption of WelTAG as the main guidance in Wales for all future transport proposals considered by local authorities, planners and developers. The consultation closes on 18 September. (01 September)

EU transport ministers attended a meeting in La Rochelle, France. (01 September)

A five-week consultation on the western extension of the London congestion charge began (Press Release). (01 September)

A report for the Noise Association by the Transport for Quality of Life Group said the expansion of roads, motor traffic levels and speeds were the main reasons for an increase in noise pollution in rural communities and the countryside (Press Release). (29 August)


The London Assembly launched an investigation into the provision of public swimming pools in London and whether London can facilitate the 2012 public participation targets (Press Release). (04 September)

Jonathan Edwards was appointed as the deputy chair of the 2012 Nations and Regions Group (Press Release). (04 September)

London 2012 and the TUC agreed ‘Principles of Cooperation’ to create an ‘inspirational’ Games (Press Release). (03 September)

The London Economic development, culture, sport and tourism committee met to consider a proposal for a preliminary investigation into the sporting legacy of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games (Agenda). (03 September)


The Welsh Assembly Government awarded a grant of over £550,000 for flood prevention works in Llangollen (Press Release). (29 August)


The Local Government Association (LGA) argued that recycling firms should be forced to reveal where recycled material is sent (Press Release). (04 September)

Environment Minister Phil Woolas made appointments to the Consumer Council for Water including Sir James Perowne as Chair of the Regional Committee for the Central & Eastern Regions, David Bland OBE as Chair of the Regional Committee for the Thames & South East Regions and Colette Isaaks as Independent Member (Press Release). (02 September)

Every council in Wales met its waste target for 2007-08 for the amount of biodegradable waste it sends to landfill according to figures published by the Landfill Allowances Scheme. (01 September)

Northern Ireland Environment Minister Sammy Wilson praised the efforts of his officials and the three district council waste management groups to find viable alternatives to landfill as exemplary joined-up government (Press Release). (29 August)


Monday 08 September

Defra’s consultation on targeting the illegal dumping of waste ends.
The Welsh Assembly Government’s consultation on controls of waste handling, transfer and transport closes.
The Welsh Assemby’s consultation on draft Statutory Social and Environmental Guidance to the Water Services Regulation Authority closes.
The Welsh Assembly Government hosts the first of its stakeholder workshops on their National Efficiency Savings Plan.

Tuesday 09 September

The Welsh Assembly Government and Defra host a waste control seminar to discuss the consultation on the matter

CLG consultation on Part L of the Building Regulations, Proposed New Editions of the Approved Documents.