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Construction Parliamentary Update - 23 October 2009

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

The House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee continued its inquiry into Private Finance arrangements and how they are used to fund public sector infrastructure projects (Press Release; Video). (20 October)

Think tank ‘Reform Scotland’ published a report entitled ‘Power to Build’ which sets out a new strategy to replace private finance initiatives. The proposed Scottish Capital Partnerships (SCP) strategy would be financed using public money borrowed at government interest rates and independent management companies would be invited to submit bids to build and run projects (Press Release). (16 October)

The Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC) announced the first major infrastructure projects that it expects to receive as applications including, five major wind farms, two new nuclear power stations, a biomass power plant and two national grid connection projects (Press Release). (22 October)

The Westminster Energy, Environment and Transport Forum held a seminar on the implementation and impact of the Planning Act 2008. (16 October)

Constructing Excellence held a seminar to discuss the findings of the latest Egan review. (22 October)

The Office of National Statistics (ONS) released provisional data on vocational qualifications, including construction and the built environment. The data showed that 234,000 people started apprenticeships in the 2008/09 academic year and 126,900 people completed apprenticeships during the same period - the highest number of starts and completions ever in an academic year (Press Release). (22 October)

The Contract Journal announced the winners for each of the categories of the Construction Industry Awards 2009 (Press Release). (21 October)

The House of Lords carried out the ninth day of its line by line examination of the Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Bill (Press Release). (20 October)

Labour MP for Barnsley West and Penistone, Michael Clapham, laid down the Early Day Motion ‘Blacklisting ruins lives’, which states that the “House is most concerned to learn that blacklisting of trade unionists is an activity that still continues…and the scope of the new regulations should be wider than outlawing blacklisting for trade union activities and that injustice should be a compensatable offence”, so far 35 MPs have signed the motion. (19 October)

The Department for Work and Pensions closed responses for its Workers Memorial Day consultation. (19 October)The construction industry exhibition interbuild took place at Birmingham’s NEC (18 - 21 October)

The Health and Safety Executive closed responses for its consultation on proposals for a Tower Crane register. (16 October)

Minister for Local Government and Regional Minister for Yorkshire and Humber, Rosie Winterton made a speech at the Northern Regeneration Summit; Ms Winterton confirmed investment in the three Regional Development Agencies, Working Neighbourhood Funds and £840 million for regeneration projects through the Homes and Communities Agency. (20 October)

The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) held the grand final of the RICS Awards 2009, the Project of the Year was awarded to the renovation of St Paul’s Cathedral (Press Release). (16 October)

The Welsh Assembly Government closed responses for the draft advice note on the Planning for Sustainable Rural Communities consultation. (16 October)

The Institute for Public Policy Research published a report on the ‘Impact of the Recession on the Northern City Regions’. The report analysed unemployment data and concluded that northern city regions left behind during the boom years have suffered most in the recession. The report stated that housing led regeneration had been hit hard and advised proactive policy-making to ensure Northern regions return to growth (Press Release). (16 October)

The British Property Foundation held a conference on ‘Overcoming the Downturn: The Challenges Facing Affordable Housing Delivery’. (22 October)

Local Government Chronicle (LGC) hosted a conference on Developing Innovative Housing Solutions speakers included Sir Bob Kerslake, Chief Executive, Homes and Communities Agency and Richard Capie, Director of Policy and Practice, Chartered Institute of Housing (Press Release). (21 October)

The Local Government Association (LGA) hosted the Housing Finance conference. (20 October)

Partnerships for Schools announced the 15 companies to secure a place on the £4 billion framework to procure the design and build of Academies and other educational facilities in local authorities (Press Release). (20 October)

Liverpool city council unveiled a £500 million plan to rebuild or refurbish every secondary school in the city, the Building Schools, Skills, Success programme is the city’s biggest educational investment and new facilities will focus on providing education for the wider community including adult learning. (19 October)

The South Staffs and Shropshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust announced that Bam Construct has been awarded a £50 million contract to build mental facilities in Shelton (Press Release). (22 October)

The London Assembly Transport Committee held a meeting to discuss the committee’s future Work Programme and the Mayor’s Draft Transport Strategy. (20 October)

The House of Commons Public Accounts Committee held an Oral Evidence Session on the Department for Transport and the ‘Failure of Metronet’. (19 October)

The Airport Expansion (Parliamentary Approval) Bill received its second reading in the House of Commons. (16 October)

The National Audit Office published its report into the ‘Highways Agency: Contracting for Highways Maintenance’, its findings state that the agency’s maintenance costs have risen above inflation and attributes the cause of the rise to the Managing Agent Contractor schemes (Press Release). (16 October)

Justice Minister Maria Eagle launched the pre-application consultation into the planned prison-building scheme on the former Runwell hospital site. The proposed new prison would create 800 new jobs and generate around £17.7 million in annual revenue for the local economy. (Press Release). (20 October)



Friday 23 October 2009

Fair and flexible - Draft statutory guidance on social housing allocations for local authorities in England consultation closes

Monday 26 October 2009
NEW!DCLG Committee oral evidence session, Beyond Decent Homes

Mon 26 - Tues 27 October 2009
The Centre for Sustainable Design Sustainable Innovation 09: Towards a Low Carbon Innovation Revolution conference

Tuesday 27 October 2009
Reform of council housing finance consultation closes

Wednesday 28 October
Transport Committee: Priorities for investment in the railways, Oral evidence session

Friday 30 October 2009
Consultation on Planning Policy Statement 15: Planning for the Historic Environment closes
Consultation on proposed changes to Planning Policy Wales to support the requirement for travel plans for specific types of development
The Housing and Regeneration Act 2008 (Registration of Local Authorities) Order 2009 consultation closes
Policy Statement on Regional Strategies and Guidance on the establishment of Leaders’ Boards consultation closes

‘Late October 2009’
Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) publishes report on scenarios for future airport infrastructure development