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Construction Parliamentary Update - 18 December 2009

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

GENERAL PPP/PFI
The House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee heard evidence from Government Departments and Public Sector trade unions as part of its inquiry into PFI Projects and off-balance sheet debt (Press Release; Video). (15 December)

The Statutory arbiter for the London Underground PPP agreements published draft directions and guidance on Tube Lines’ costs for the 7 years from 01 July 2010. The report supports the London Underground by recommending that Tube Lines’ costs should not exceed £4.4bn over the next 7.5 years of the contract (Press Release). (17 December)

PLANNING
The British Chamber of Commerce (BCC) hosted the first Business Infrastructure Commission meeting, created to ensure that business views on infrastructure funding, long-term planning, and national priorities continue to be heard by the government. (17 December)

Three additional decision-makers were appointed to the Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC) Gideon Amos, Katherine Bryan and Emrys Parry will ensure that the IPC is ready to take applications from 01 March 2010 the new appointments will act as decision-makers, either individually or sitting on panels, on nationally significant infrastructure projects (Press Release). (15 December)

CONSTRUCTION
The Scottish All Party Group on Construction met to discuss skills development in Scotland focusing on construction apprenticeships (Agenda). (16 November)

The Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE) awarded £900,000 to support and strengthen 21 architecture and built environment centres (Press Release). (16 December)

REGENERATION
The House of Commons South East Regional Committee held an evidence session concerning the South East England Development Agency. (15 December)

Shadow regeneration minister Stewart Jackson announced that the Conservative party’s commitment to publish a Green Paper on the Thames Gateway and housing market renewal areas could now be pushed back until after the general election (Building.co.uk) (14 December)

The Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA), European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the European Investment Bank (EIB) agreed to launch a new £100 million fund, the Northwest Urban Investment Fund (NUIF), to finance urban development projects across the Northwest of England. (Press Release). (11 December)

HOUSING
The Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) announced a further 265 stalled housing developments shortlisted for a share of up to £550 million to help get building work on over 22,400 homes back on track and support up to 12,000 jobs - including 1,000 apprentices (Press Release). (16 December)

According to property website data homes across Britain have gained £39.1 billion in value over the past year, the value of the average British home rose £1,517 in 2009, after dropping £31,355 in 2008 (Financial Times). (15 December)

The Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE) published a new report entitled, ‘Who should build out homes?’ with contributions from six housing experts each putting the case for new models including self build and community commissioned housing (Press Release). (15 December)

Glasgow City Council announced a £75 million framework for the design and construction of the second phase of the Maryhill housing scheme, with a contractor to be selected by March 31st 2010. (14 December)

The Scottish Government announced that it would be allocating a further £24 million funding to help 20 councils build houses for rent, the grants will provide an extra 954 homes, taking the total to nearly 2,300 new houses across 22 local authorities (Press Release). (13 December)

The National Housing Federation warned that Conservative plans to require a 90% positive vote by local people for affordable village homes to be delivered through local housing trusts could hand a veto to local Nimbys. The NHT expressed its support for the Conservative’s proposal to create local housing trusts with planning powers to develop affordable village homes. However, it feared the requisite for such a high percentage of community support would prevent building from going ahead (Press Release). (11 December)

EDUCATION
The Learning and Skills Council approved two new further education college capital projects. Manchester College will receive £7.038 million to finish its redevelopment scheme and Lancashire College will receive £32.6 million to create a new campus central to the town’s redevelopment (Press Release). (17 December)

During Prime Minister’s Question Time Labour MP for Great Yarmouth Anthony Wright asked Leader of the House, Harriet Harman to guarantee that “any future Labour Government [would] continue with [the] Building Schools for the Future fund to ensure that investment in education continues”. Harriet Harmen replied that the Government had “not pulled the plug on public investment in construction in the way that the Conservatives [had] insisted” upon (Hansard). (16 December)

TRANSPORT
Secretary of State for Transport, Rt Hon Lord Andrew Adonis confirmed that there would be an announcement in the Spring setting out plans for the future of high speed rail. High Speed Two - the company advising the Government on the development of high speed rail services between London and Scotland - will deliver a report to the Transport Secretary by the end of the year. The Conservatives criticised the Government for ‘dragging their feet’ and stated that the Conservatives had made their timetabled and costed commitment on high speed rail 15 months ago. Lord Andrew Adonis also announced a £1.1billion investment in the electrification of the Great Western Main Line between London and South Wales, and the line between Liverpool and Manchester. (14 December)

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson restated proposals to secure contributions from developers towards the cost of Crossrail at the ‘Examination in Public’ of the London Plan Crossrail Alterations (Press Release). (14 December)

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson confirmed that £155 million would be made available for London Boroughs to improve local transport and £1.49 million to support Cycle Superhighways (Press Release). (11 December)

OLYMPICS AND 2012
The House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee held an evidence session on the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympic Games with Lord Coe, Chairman of the London Organising Committee, and John Armitt, Chairman of the Olympic Delivery Authority (Press Release; Video) (15 December)

FLOODING
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Hilary Benn, moved the second reading of the Flood and Water Management Bill in the House of Commons (Press Release; Hansard; Video). (16 December)