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Construction Parliamentary Update - 15 August

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

GENERAL

English Heritage Chairman, Conservative Leader of Kent County Council and former head of the Local Government Association (LGA) Lord Bruce-Lockhart died. (14 August)

Former Housing Minister Nick Rainsford accused the Government of populism over mooted ideas such as freezing stamp duty or giving out more winter payments, and praised David Miliband’s call to “start by winning the arguments” (New Statesman). (10 August)


GENERAL PPP/PFI/FINANCE/PROCUREMENT

The Public Accounts Committee announced it would publish its report ‘HM Treasury: Making changes in operational PFI projects’ on 2 September. (12 August)

Balfour Beatty won a £100m PPP contract in Singapore (Press Release). (12 August)


PLANNING

The Department for Communities and Local Government published a summary of responses to its consultation ‘Planning for Sustainable Economic Development’ which examined whether planners gave ‘sufficient weight to the economic benefits of proposed development’. (13 August)


CONSTRUCTION

A Civil Engineering Market report from RICS’ Building Cost Information Service (BCIS) indicated that costs were increasing for large infrastructure projects and that projects such as Crossrail and the Olympics were likely to need more public funds as a result (Press Release). (13 August)

The Office for National Statistics published additional monthly information on new construction orders. (13 August)

Greenpeace published a report advising construction companies on sustainable plywood, aimed at helping construction companies to support sustainable forest management (Press Release). (08 August)


HOUSING AND REGENERATION

The Government continued to endure the fallout of their suggestion of measures to limit stamp duty. Housing Minister Caroline Flint said on Sky News the Government wouldn’t be “bounced” into a change of direction. (08-13 August)

Mervyn King exposed tension between the Bank of England and the Treasury when he criticised Government proposals to ease the mortgage drought. He opposed the expansion of the Bank of England’s Special Liquidity Scheme to finance lenders in emergency, and temporarily Treasury guarantees of mortgage-backed bonds to increase funds for mortgage lending (Times). (13 August)

The IPD published its yearly regeneration index. IPD and English Partnerships contended that the findings showed regeneration was still an area of solid long-term investment, even if it was currently subject to unwelcome vagaries in the market (Press Release; Press Release). (12 August)

The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) published its house price index for June. (12 August)

The Guardian reported that London Mayor Boris Johnson approved a ‘disproportionate’ development of new housing and a health and social care centre to White City, west London. A revised planning bid had reduced the proportion of social homes included in the development. (12 August)

RICS published its monthly UK housing market survey (Press Release). (11 August)


EDUCATION

Partnerships for Schools (PfS) published its quarterly Insite report which included ‘case studies from Stoke and Leicester, a feature on the NFER study published in May, and Bristol's latest BSF school’. (12 August)


TRANSPORT

Mayor of London Boris Johnson made six new appointments to the Transport for London board and reappointed other members. The new members are Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson, Bob Oddy, Steve Wright, Keith Williams, Charles Belcher and Daniel Moylan (Press Release; Press Release). (14 August)


OLYMPICS AND 2012

Transport for London announced that Work to increase capacity at Stratford Regional Station would be finished by the end of 2010 (Press Release). (12 August)


WASTE AND UTILITIES

Water companies in England and Wales submitted draft five year business plans containing proposals for prices and investment for 2010-2015 to Ofwat (Press Release). The plans revealed that the majority of water companies wished to increase construction spend. The Environment agency welcomed the plans and said it would return its review to Ofwat in October (Press Release) (11 August)


FUTURE EVENTS

Monday 18 August

The Welsh Assembly consultation on the Proposed Second Environment Strategy for Wales Action Plan closes.

Wednesday 20 August

Defra’s consultation on Groundwater Regulations 1998 closes.
Friday 22 August

CLG’s consultation on proposed measures to enhance the protection of World Heritage Sites in England closes.