Government must act to save construction say MPs

A bricklayer-turned MP says that the government needs to take urgent action if it is to save the consgtruction industry “from the brink”.

Steve Rotheram MP has called for the government to take new measures to stop the decline of the construction industry.

“Construction had been hit extremely hard in the global financial crisis, but the 3.3% fall in output in the last quarter of 2010 is the steepest the industry has suffered since the financial crisis of 2008,” he said in his Westminster Hall debate on the construction industry.

“Urgent action is needed from the government to save the industry from the brink.”

Rotheram started his working life as an apprentice bricklayer and worked in the construction industry for over 20 years. He believes that the current government’s actions have created some of the decline in construction orders of 40% in the last year.

By 2015, “annual construction spending by the government will have been reduced from £59bn to £47bn, a reduction of more than 20 per cent”, he said.

He pointed to large cuts in the budget of the Department for Communities and Local Government, as well the scrapping of public sector infrastructure projects such as Building Schools for the Future.

“A thriving and vibrant construction sector has a significant and beneficial knock-on impact on the wider economy, not least because 80 per cent of the materials that are procured by the construction industry are procured from within the UK, which creates an additional stimulus outside of the construction sector itself,” said Chris Williamson MP.

Minister for business and enterprise, Mark Prisk said: “I do not deny that there is a challenge in construction. We cannot force that number. The point is to ensure that we put the funding in place, so that businesses who wish to do so, can participate.”

Rotheram maintained that “monumental cuts in construction make no economic sense”.

About Fiona Russell-Horne

Group Managing Editor across the BMJ portfolio.

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