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Construction Parliamentary Update - 22 May 2009

A round up of all the construction news from Westminster this week brought to you by the Madano Partnership.

PLANNING

The House of Commons Communities and Local Government Select Committee heard a session on the proposed changes to Planning Policy Statement 6 on town centres with evidence from the Royal Town Planning Institute, Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, Law Society, Local Government Association, Sheffield City Council and Brighton and Hove Council (Video). (18 May)

CONSTRUCTION

Prime Minister Gordon Brown answered questions on the construction industry, apprenticeships and regeneration projects (Video). (20 May)

£3.4 billion of construction work was brought to a halt in April, compared with £5.5 billion in January, according to the latest project hold statistics released by business intelligence unit Glenigan. The figures revealed a steady improvement throughout the year to date, providing a tentative sign of encouragement for the construction industry (Construction News). (20 May)

Building reported that according to the latest Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB)’s third annual skills survey results showed that the construction industry is still suffering from a skills shortage in spite of the recession and slump in construction demand. (19 May)

Liberal MP for Dunfermline & West Fife, Willie Rennie opened a Commons Adjournment debate on UK government funding for the construction of a new crossing over the River Forth (Hansard). (18 May)

REGENERATION

The Business Rate Supplements Bill had its second day of Committee Stage in the House of Lords (Hansard; video). (19 May)

HOUSING

Mayor of London Boris Johnson announced a pledge to halve severe overcrowding in London’s social housing sector by 2016 and deliver more family-sized affordable housing (Press Release). (21 May)

The Fabian Society published `housing policy must tackle “apartheid cities”` report (Press Release). (21 May)

Gross mortgage lending declined to an estimated £10.4 billion in April, down 9% from £11.4 billion in March and 60% from £26.1 billion in April 2008, according to the latest gross monthly lending figures from the Council of Mortgage Lenders. (21 May)

The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) released data on house building. (21 May)

The DCLG published Housing Revenue Account Subsidy Determination 2009-2010 Amending Determination 2009 (Letter; document). (20 May)

EDUCATION
Partnerships for Schools (PfS) announced the 22 companies shortlisted for the £4 billion framework to procure the design and build of Academies and other educational facilities in local authorities which have not yet engaged with the Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme (Press Release). (21 May)

The Commons Innovation, Universities, Science and Skills (CIUSS) Committee held a hearing as part of its inquiry into Further Education college capital expenditure with the Association of Colleges, 157 Group and the Learning and Skills Council (Video). (20 May)

Further Education MP Siôn Simon answered Commons written questions on funding for the Building Colleges for the Future (BCF) Programme (Hansard). (19 May)

35 MPs have signed an Early Day Motion calling for greater investment in the ailing college building programme. (18 May)

TRANSPORT

Transport minister Lord Adonis gave a speech at an Arup event on high speed rail. (21 May)

Ministers have signed off the delayed 30 year £6.2 billion scheme to widen the M25 on Wednesday indicating that banks are returning to the PFI market. The Highways Agency (HA) have awarded the contract to the Connect Plus consortium, comprising Balfour Beatty, Skanska, Atkins and Egis Projects SA to carry out the work (Press Release). (21 May)

The Commons Transport Committee held a hearing on the major road network (Video). (20 May)

The Scottish Transport, Infrastructure and Climate Change (TICC) Committee examined transport projects and policy with the Ainslie McLaughlin, Director of Major Transport Infrastructure Projects, Bill Reeve, Director, Rail Delivery, Transport Scotland, Judith Ainsley, Ferry Policy and Procurement Team Leader, and Sam Anson, Economic Adviser, Transport Directorate, Scottish Government (Video) (19 May)

BAA intends to challenge the Competition Commission ruling that ordered the UK airports operator in March to sell off Gatwick, Stansted and one of either Edinburgh or Glasgow airports. BAA said that the ruling did not give enough consideration to the economic downturn, and alleged a conflict of interest between the commission and one of the parties bidding to buy Gatwick (Press Release) (19 May)

Network Rail announced that Andrew Mitchell, programme director for its £5.5 billion congestion-busting Thameslink Programme, will join Crossrail Limited later this year. He will take up a new position as the board level programme director for the multi-billion rail scheme (Press Release). (18 May)

Mayor of London Boris Johnson and Prime Minister Gordon Brown marked the start of construction of Crossrail at a breakfast briefing with UK business leaders (Press Release; video). The Financial Times reported that Mayor of London, Boris Johnson did not believe that an incoming Conservative government would tamper with the London Crossrail project. (15 May)

FLOODING
The Commons Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee held a hearing on (i) Ofwat’s price review 2009 (ii) Draft Flood and Water Management Bill with Anna Walker and Sue Ellis from the Walker Review of Water Charging (Video). (20 May)

FUTURE EVENTS

‘Early 2009’

Consortium DTZ reports on the potential regional economic impacts of a Severn tidal scheme in Wales

Friday 22 May 2009

Bioenergy Action Plan for Wales consultation closes

Thursday 28 May 2009

The Fog of Games: Legacy, Land Grabs and Liberty
Reporting the London Olympics lecture

Scottish Cross Party Construction Group meeting

Friday 29 May 2009

Deadline for submissions of responses to the Department of Innovation, Universities & Skills consultation on the Specification of Apprenticeship Standards for England (SASE).

‘Summer 2009’

IEA published their global strategy on energy consumption in buildings

Government starts consultation on proposed regulations to stop blacklisting