How many times have you heard construction industry professionals cite the fact that every £1 spent on construction in the UK brings £2.84-worth of economic benefit? Or that the industry contributes 7 per cent of GDP?
Too many times to mention, no doubt. The research that produced those figures, by global strategy firm LEK, has had a powerful impact in the two years since it was published.
And you hear it not only in the construction industry but, more importantly, you hear it used by politicians too – it makes for a good sound bite and it shows that they’ve been paying attention.
After the Prime Minister made kick-starting construction his mission last week, the industry can allow itself to be hopeful that the Chancellor’s autumn statement will contain some news contractors want to hear.
Whether it is the full public sector construction pipeline or some detail on how credit easing will work, any announcements on construction will, directly or indirectly, no doubt have been influenced by that magic multiplier, too.
But, with the advent of localism, the Chancellor does not hold all the purse strings. The industry needs to be able to make the case for investment at a local level, too.
It’s all very well knowing what are the benefits of construction to the national economy, but how do you go about winning the hearts, minds and – more importantly – budgets, of local and regional decision-makers?
By setting out a region-by-region analysis of the impact of the recession, the UK Contractors Group has published research which should help to do this.
This week’s report, by the Centre for Economic and Business Research and business intelligence unit Glenigan, can be used to argue the case for construction to MPs, council leaders and Local Enterprise Partnerships. It shows how bad things have got and which areas have been the hardest hit.
But it also quantifies just how much economic benefit a region will feel from investment in construction.
This is about being able to argue what we all know already using real numbers: that construction can bring benefits bigger, faster and more widely felt than most other industries.
That message needs to be made loud and clear, so that local politicians know the regional economic benefits of construction so well they could recite them in their sleep.