Plus ca change

It is the disease of not listening, the malady of not marking, that I am troubled withal

In my Christmas wish-list blog I asked Father Christmas for a Government that’s prepared to listen to the construction industry and act upon some of its suggestions to help boost, not just construction, but the economy as a whole.

Fat chance of that it seems.

Our story last week highlighted some of the things that the outgoing Construction Czar Paul Morrell had learned from his tenure as chief construction advisor.

And the chief of these is, it seems, that the Government doesn’t actually bother to listen or read any of the stuff that the construction lobbying brings its way.

Are we surprised at this? Well, sadly, not really.

Morrell was appointed under the last Labour Government, a move which might on the surface have seemed as though it was an administration taking the industry seriously. An administration in which the housing and construction minister’s departments weren’t so much offices as a set of revolving doors through which the various incumbents sped on their way to greater things.

And now the coalition parties are in power, they aren’t doing much better either. Morrell says he doesn’t think they are any more keen on reading stuff either – in fact he doubts very much whether they bothered with it in opposition, still less now they are in government.

I suppose the best thing I can find to say about this administration compared with the last lot regarding this issue is that we are halfway through the Parliamentary term and we’re only on our second housing and construction ministers.

It does feel rather like I’m damning with faint praise. I may have said some less than complimentary things about Greg Barker in the past few years but he, at least, does seem to be enthusiastic about the prospects for the Green Deal boosting building industry work. Even if he’s not going the right way about it.

Travis Perkins’ CEO Geoff Cooper has taken on the chair of the CPA and has said that he wants to work with the Government in areas where the CPA can really make a difference.

On Morrell’s evidence, I’d say, good luck with that!

About Fiona Russell-Horne

Group Managing Editor across the BMJ portfolio.

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