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Construction Parliamentary Update - 29 May 2009

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

GENERAL PPP/PFI

More construction projects were put out to tender in May than at any time this year, while the number of firms bidding for the extra work at increasingly competitive prices increased. Figures from construction market intelligence firms Glenigan and the Builders’ Confer revealed that the time between tender submission and work commencement increased (Glenigan Index). (28 May)

Prime Minister Gordon Brown called for the European Investment Bank (EIB) to boost lending to businesses and infrastructure projects by €50 billion (£44 billion) over the next two years to support Europe’s economic recovery. (27 May)

PLANNING

The Government think tank UK Foresight is now carrying out a study reviewing the future of green belts. (27 May)

The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) published land use change statistics for England for 2008 - provisional estimates. (28 May)

CONSTRUCTION

Ian Kerr will be sentenced in a Crown Court after he pleaded guilty to offences under the Data Protection Act for allegedly failing to notify his firm as a data controller of blacklisting practices. He failed to attend court himself. Construction union UCATT welcomed the decision to sentence in the Crown Court. (27 May)

Construction workloads fell again during the first three months of the year but the pace of decline began to slow, according to the latest Construction Market Survey Q1 2009 published by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). (27 May)

REGENERATION     

The British Property Federation (BPF) published a `regeneration manifesto` which called for the use of money from local government issued bonds against future revenue from business rates, similar to tax increment financing (TIF) as pioneered in the US. The five main proposals are to pay for infrastructure by using the American TIF model, expand equity sharing encouraging councils donate land to make development viable, use funding for school and hospital building to lever in more investment, reform EU red tape. The proposals were supported by Newcastle, Liverpool, Manchester and Birmingham city councils. (26 May)

HOUSING

New data on the Scottish mortgage market from the Council of Mortgage Lenders showed that house purchase lending in Scotland continued to fall in the first quarter of 2009. There were 7,600 house purchase loans in Scotland, down 34 per cent from 11,600 in the previous quarter and 52 per cent from the same quarter a year earlier. Across the UK, house purchase lending in the first quarter declined 25 per cent from the previous quarter and 44 per cent from the first quarter of. (27 May)

The Scottish Government released Housing statistics for Scotland for 2008. The Government said that 6,000 new homes for affordable rent or low cost ownership were completed in 2008-09. (26 May)

Applications to build new homes were up 10 per cent in the three months to April according to figures from the National House-Building Council (NHBC). (24 May)

EDUCATION

A joint venture between Hochtief and Laing O’Rourke secured the £350 million Salford and Wigan Building Schools for the Future (BSF) scheme, ahead of Catalyst Lend Lease. (27 May)

Partnerships for Schools (PfS) Chief Executive, Tim Byles said that 20 banks are now providing finance for Building Schools for the Future projects compared with “only six banks [that] were lending” at the beginning of January. (26 May)

TRANSPORT

Network Rail, the Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC) and the Rail Freight Operators’ Association (RFOA) published a paper entitled ‘Planning ahead’. The document challenged Government planning and called for public transport to be at the core of housing, business and leisure planning. (28 May)

Airports operator BAA decided to stop using its £6.6 billion construction framework on major projects as part of an overhaul of its procurement strategy. Competitive tenders for all schemes over £25 million will now be used as BAA tries to bring down costs. (22 May)

OLYMPICS AND 2012

Andrew Altman was appointed as Chief Executive of the new 2012 legacy delivery company which will lead on securing lasting legacy for the Olympic Park. (27 May)

The Commons Welsh Affairs Committee published a report on the potential benefits of the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics for Wales. (22 May)

FUTURE EVENTS

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

‘Summer’ Government starts consultation on proposed regulations to stop blacklisting

June Grants under the Low Carbon Building Programme come to an end

Monday 01 June 2009 Industry and Parliament Trust Transforming Transport: Unlocking the UK’s economic potential lunchtime briefing

Monday 01 June 2009 Second reading of the Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Bill in the House of Lords.

Monday 1 June 2009 Communities and Local Government Committee follow up evidence session on Housing and the Credit Crunch

Wednesday 03 June 2009 Health and Safety Executive (HSE) launch of new strategy `Be Part of the Solution`

Mon 01 – 04 Thu Jun 2009 The INSITE 09 construction conference

Thursday 04 June 2009 Local and European elections

Thursday 04 June 2009 4Ps Annual Conference

Thursday 04 June 2009 4Ps introduction to PFI/ PPP Project Finance seminar - London

Thursday 04 June 2009 LGIU Implementing the Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Act 2009

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