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Delayed £420m construction sector deal launches

The government has launched its much-anticipated construction sector deal, more than six months later than planned.

Business secretary Greg Clark (pictured) will unveil details of the sector deal in Newcastle today, including a pledge to put more than £420m in match-funding towards the development of innovative technologies and modern construction methods.

In November last year the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy confirmed construction had been handed one of the first sector deals to come out as part of its industrial strategy.

The early details released by BEIS ahead of Mr Clark’s speech largely mirror those released last November, with the exception of new targets around apprenticeship starts.

Speaking in November, Construction Leadership Council co-chairman Andrew Wolstenholme promised a paper with further details on how the deal would work in a “matter of weeks”.

However, CN revealed in January that the publishing of the paper had been postponed after a review of the sector deal following the collapse of Carillion.

At the time, BEIS told CN the updated sector deal would include “commitments in relation to the business model of the sector, including payment practices”.

Today’s launch will see the government give £170m towards innovations that increase industry productivity and speed up the housebuilding process, which it expects to be supported by £250m of private sector backing.

It said the money will be aimed at halving the time it takes to deliver new-build projects and halving the energy use of new builds by 2030.

As part of the details released ahead of the sector deal’s full publication later today, BEIS also set targets for the number of new starters in the construction sector.

By 2020, the government has targeted 25,000 apprenticeship starts and 1,000 construction T-level placements.

Mr Clark said: “The construction industry is fundamental to growing our economy as we build to invest in our future.

“Major infrastructure projects like HS2 and the commitment to deliver 1.5m homes by 2022 mean that we need a construction sector that can drive innovation, delivering homes and infrastructure quicker.

“As buildings account for around 30 per cent of total emissions, we also want to ensure that we are at the global forefront in designing and building smart, energy-efficient and affordable homes and buildings through the Clean Growth Grand Challenge, saving families money on their bills.

“This sector deal is supported by the biggest government investment in construction for at least a decade and will drive economic growth and create well-paid highly skilled jobs in every part of the UK.”

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