A campaign highlighting the vital role construction can play across the UK reached the regions today with an official launch at Manchester Town Hall.
Creating Britain’s Future, coordinated by the UK Contractors Group, brought together contractors, senior political figures and local decision makers to highlight the need for investment in the industry as a means of encouraging economic growth and creating jobs in Manchester and the North west.
They say the North west has seen a 17 per cent drop in public and private sector work in 2012, and “without essential investment, these declines will continue, putting jobs at risk and threatening the growth of the local economy”.
Mr Sheffield said earlier: “Construction is essential to maintain the city’s competitiveness and is creating much needed employment in Manchester and the North west.
“However, there is more that can be done: the industry needs to work closely with local political leaders and central government to ensure that the value infrastructure brings to the region, and the wider country, is understood.
“Key to supporting our industry is the ability to unlock new capital to support projects by making use of surplus land and pension fund assets, and delivering value for money for tax payers through the efficient use of resources”.
Stephen Ratcliffe, director of the UKCG, said: “The significance of the construction industry to the national and local economy should not be underestimated; every £1 invested in the sector generates £2.84 in economic activity, and 92p of every £1 spent on construction in the North West is retained within the region.
“Support for the Creating Britain’s Future campaign can make a real difference in helping to stimulate local growth and creating jobs.”
Creating Britain’s Future was originally launched last summer in London by Dame Tessa Jowell MP, and supported by Construction News, to coincide with the Olympics. It is now being rolled out to different cities throughout the UK during 2013.
Construction in the North west
Construction input into the North west region in the first three quarters of last year was £8 billion and the sector is a huge employer of people from all educational backgrounds: over 200,000 people are employed in construction in Manchester and the North West, representing over 6% of the local work force.
World class projects in Manchester and the surrounding area include One St Peters’ Square, the 56km extension to the tramway system linking the airport and Oldham to the city centre, and a transformational academies building programme across Oldham and the St Catherine and Firwood Academy.
But difficult economic environment has had a damaging effect on the sector: new public and private sector work declined 17% in 2012 compared to 2011, and planning approvals last year in Manchester were down 28% on the prior year.