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Campaign will highlight vital contribution to the economy

This week, the UKCG launched the Creating Britain’s Future campaign, which seeks to highlight the importance of construction investment.

It kicked off in London, which will be full of visitors during the Olympics.

The Olympic venues themselves provide a fantastic showcase for the industry; the Shard is an impressive new feature on the London skyline; and Crossrail shows the industry’s ability to tackle the largest infrastructure project in Europe.

Future visitors to the capital will see better transport through the Victoria and King’s Cross station upgrades and the widening of the M25. These are fantastic adverts for our industry.

The campaign is a simple one. Site hoardings will be used to promote the impact construction makes to the economy. The campaign will focus on highly visible sites, including those on the Olympic priority routes and the Olympic torch route.

Construction plays a pivotal role in the UK economy, employing more than 10 per cent of the workforce. Construction investment stimulates growth and UK construction plc is immensely capable.

What we do - building new schools and hospitals, new roads and rail links and training young people - really changes lives.

The campaign is closely linked to another UKCG initiative to promote the job opportunities construction has to offer young people.

In November this year, the UKCG will be opening up many sites all over the country to youngsters (and their parents) exploring a possible career in construction.

So why go to all this effort? The plain fact is that the construction industry does not shout loud enough about its achievements. The UKCG has been running a long-term campaign to change this.

Three years ago it published the report Construction in the UK Economy, an analysis of the reasons why investment in construction is important. This
was followed up last year by further research highlighting the importance of our industry in different parts of the country.

It is good to see politicians quoting the figures back at us - every £1 spent in construction creates £2.84 in economic growth and 92p in that £1 stays in the UK creating British jobs.

It would be even better in these difficult economic times to see politicians at a local and national level help to create more investment and boost confidence.

We need to work together to find ways to increase the number of affordable homes, improve our schools and hospitals, and provide the infrastructure needed to keep the UK economy competitive. The key to delivery is finding new financial models - it can be done.

It would be fantastic if everyone in the UK understood the need for construction investment and was as passionate as I am about winning the argument.

So the campaign is aimed at everyone. It will have the most impact if the whole industry gets behind it. Fifty sites in London have so far agreed to take part. Do get in touch with the UKCG and join in.

Paul Sheffield is chief executive of Kier

 

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