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Contractors World - UK & Ireland Vol 2 No 8
Construction News - Economics - Business - Regulations
The industry welcomes the steps Ministers have taken to boost confidence in construction, but the focus must
now be on delivery. Programmes such as the UK Guarantees Scheme are a positive step, but we need to see shovels
in the ground as soon as possible.’
Julia Evans, Chief Executive of the National Federation of Builders added: ‘These figures are a stark reminder
that, while the rest of the economy is showing tentative signs of growth, the government should not take its eye off
the ball with regards to construction. The government’s moves to streamline and speed up planning, fast track and
fund infrastructure and fund more house building will not yield immediate results, but they are the building blocks
necessary to ensure a sustainable recovery for construction. The more immediate consideration for government is
to continue to ensure that access to finance for small and medium-sized businesses remains a high priority,’
Key survey findings include:
Public new housing and public non-housing were the worst hit sectors for building contractors, with a balance
of 38% and 34% respectively, reporting falls in output
• 29%
and 27% of building contractors reported that, on balance, output fell in the private industrial and private
commercial sectors respectively
• 20%
of heavy side product manufacturers and 41% of light side manufacturers reported that, on balance, sales
fell in Q3
• 26%
of contractors reported that, on balance, orders fell in the third quarter
• 17%
of civil engineers reported a fall in workload, on balance, during Q3
• 50%
of large and medium sized building contractors, on balance, suggested that tender prices reduced in
• 32%
of building contractors, on balance, reported rises in costs, marginally higher than the 30% in Q2
The proportion of contractors, on balance, reporting falls in profit margins remained unchanged at 49%
. . .
but some people are trying to stimulate activity
The Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA) has welcomed the publication of Lord Heseltine’s independent
review ‘No Stone Unturned in Pursuit of Growth’.
The report, which makes a series of recommendations to improve the UK’s ability to create wealth, makes the
case for a major rebalancing of responsibilities for economic development between
c e n t r a l
and local government, and between government and the private sector.
In so doing, it reflects CECA’s argument, made in the recent publication
Infrastructure: the Routemap for Growth, that there is a need for a rebalancing
of infrastructure investment across the UK, for the implementation of a local
infrastructure funding model, and for Local Enterprise Partnerships to focus more on
the delivery of infrastructure to boost growth.
Commenting, CECA director of external affairs Alasdair Reisner (right) said: “We
are strongly supportive of efforts to drive a greater focus on growth on a local level.
This would match the government’s excellent work to push forward with nationally
important infrastructure and the growth it will create.
CECA has been working with government and others in recent months to try to unlock projects at a local level
around the country. Heseltine’s recommendations seem to support this work, fostering an environment where local
communities will be better able to deliver the priorities for their area.
But local bodies must step up to match the increasing responsibility that they may be given. We cannot create a
situation where councils and Local Enterprise Partnerships
GDP Figures Mask Fragility of Construction Sector
The CECA has also welcomed the preliminary GDP estimate but warned that the figures mask a continuing fragility
in the construction sector.
Figures published by the Office for National Statistics showed that the economy had returned to growth of
one per cent in the third quarter of the year, boosted by one-off externalities such as the impact of the London
Construction sector output decreased by 2.5 per cent in Q3 2012 compared with Q2 2012, following a decrease
of 5.2 per cent between Q1 2012 and Q2 2012. Once again, negative growth in the construction sector is acting as a
drag on the wider economy.
Commenting, CECA director of external affairs Alasdair Reisner said: “The whole of the UK has been waiting for