24th February 2020
Hold tight we are about to experience a Perfect Storm!
Add together climate change, fire, skills, migrant labour, quality, major spending on infrastructure and a Government commitment to reduce construction costs by 33% and increase speed by 50%. The result will be a perfect storm that will make the recent “Storm Dennis” look like a tranquil backwater.
The current and future challenges could not be greater, by dealing with them in silos we fail to understand the true complexity and this all to often results in unintended consequences we can ill afford, which will let down the current and future generations who are depending on us.
One thing is for sure, we have signed up to legally binding targets to achieve Net Zero 2050. The built environment accounts for some 30% of C02 emissions. If we are to get anywhere near to meeting this target new build will make only a very small contribution. We therefore need to borrow while rates are low and invest billions of tax payers money in our existing buildings most of which are in private ownership. We must also ensure that any interventions we make, serve to improve our building stock and offer long term comfort and affordability to the occupier.
To date our interventions have been woeful. Millions have been wasted through poorly planned and executed projects where the vital importance of ventilation has been largely ignored and mould growth and condensation has led to an increase in respiratory health issues. Fire safety is also a key issue and the lessons from the Grenfell tragedy have changed everything and remind us of the importance of choosing non- combustible building materials wherever possible.
We must also embrace this once in a lifetime opportunity to make our Billions work for us taking full advantage of the construction multiplier to create inclusive growth. This only works because we make our building materials in the UK and we employ huge numbers down stream to distribute and install our products. 99.6% of these companies are SME’s who are the lifeblood of construction.
There is a real danger that our politicians and civil servants fail to understand this model and encourage the import of materials and finished buildings at a cost to our balance of payments, jobs and the very fabric of our local economies. The decision to end the use of Gas boilers in new homes by 2025, for instance, lacks a solid plan to ensure the manufacturing of alternative heating solutions remains in the UK and we develop the skills to install and maintain the chosen solutions.
With our decision to leave the EU and the ban on low skilled workers, we must now act decisively on skills and put in place the funding to ensure we attract a million new people into construction and provide a much better training platform and financially support small businesses to employ apprentices. This will cost time and money but the investment will pay back in spades, not just in underpinning a massive growth in construction but also addressing wider social economic issues such as crime and the disparity in life expectancy between the have’s and have-nots.
At a time when emotions can race ahead of the technology, skills and Knowledge it is critical that we do not seek to achieve short term gain by leading on the rhetoric and engaging in sound bite politics, in the interest of political point scoring. This is not just an issue for the Devolved Governments but also for Combined and local authorities who are falling over themselves to declare a Climate Emergency. The forthcoming COP 26 conference in Glasgow maybe also be a catalyst for rushed announcements, banning current practices, to try and demonstrate that Great Britain is a world leader without first putting in place sustainable solutions.
This is nothing short of pointless gaming with Nottingham now targeting to be Zero Carbon by 2028. We are a small country in a big world and we will only succeed if we pool our knowledge and make joined up decisions to create the certainty and the size of market which makes investments worthwhile.
Our plea is simple, we must invest in independent research and make these critically important decisions, based on evidence, rather than making emotionally charged decisions that will result in unintended consequence which fail for future generations.
19th September 2014
Get Scotland Building
The people of Scotland have voted to stay in the Union. With this important matter now settled we must now move swiftly to remove the brake on economic growth that the uncertainty has caused.
Today we call upon the Scottish Government to plan for the future creating jobs. Growth and more homes for Scotland.
Scotland has a Golden Opportunity to use local materials and train young people to build infrastructure, new homes and improve our existing buildings. The success of such intervention cannot be underestimated, it will change people's lives, create wealth and secure positive communties .
This only works if we fully recognise and embrace the benifits that a circular economy can deliver.If we continue to spend our money on imported materials and labour we will need to borrow more and our debt will increase.
Today is the beginning of a stronger Union based on collective responsibility to drive economic growth, jobs and social inclusion. The time has come to Get Scotland Building.
4th September 2014
There are now just 246 days until the nation heads to the polls to choose its next Government.
Thursday May 7 2015 will firmly be in the minds of all, yet in the next eight months there are a number of key events which will have a direct impact on the political landscape as we head to 2015 and beyond.
As a direct result of campaigns such as “Get Britain Building” the UK economy is now the fastest growing in Europe. Some say that without the growth in home building and general construction we would be back in recession.
Despite this success we are still a long way from pre-recession levels of home building and the growth is heavily dependent on the South East of England. Lack of finance and land is also preventing the participation of local house builders. The wider construction sector has yet to enjoy a widespread recovery and RIM demand is still very weak.
The primary objective of all those that support the “Get Britain Building” campaign over the coming months is to continue to lobby our politicians and local councillors to ensure that construction remains at the heart of their long term plans for sustainable growth across the UK.
Please sign up and support us at www.jobsandgrowth.co.uk
Wednesday 25th January 2012
Unemployment forecast 2012
As we predicted in September 2010, when we published our Get Britain Building Plan B, unemployment will continue to rise steeply throughout 2012.
We are now witnessing a lost generation of young people and a major loss of skilled workers with over 800000 job loses in construction industry and the supply chain.
Today Construction Skills has predicted a further 45000 construction jobs will go this year and this takes no account of the job losses in building materials manufacture which is a vital industry for UK PLC .
Add to this the fact that 40% of those made redundant in the last year are over 50 and you will begin to understand the gravity of the skill drain that is occurring.
How long will the Coalition wait before intervening to provide the stimulus for economic growth and new jobs?
Our message is clear and economic growth figures confirm that, the current plan is clearly not working. Mr Osborne needs to act now, not though printing more money, but by funding a major social housing program where 92 pence of every £1 invested will stay in the UK.
This will create jobs by ensuring demand for our UK based building materials industry and by creating construction jobs for young people and unemployed skilled workers. It will also begin to address the growing housing crisis and the social and economic issues that are a result of this.
The Prime Minister and his deputy are keen to celebrate 2500 new jobs at McDonald's whilst doing nothing to ensure construction which is by far our most important industry begins to grow rather than decline.
This is no longer an option but is now a necessity if we are to head off the biggest economic crisis since the Great Depression!
Wednesday 17th March 2010
One last chance to get it Right?
Never before have had I found myself so profoundly worried for the long-term future of the UK economy. Britain is in serious economic trouble. Not only have we just had the longest and deepest recession on record, but our recovery is one of the weakest in the developed world.
Our political and economic leaders have allowed us to run up unprecedented levels of debt, whilst selling off our assets and deserting our manufacturing sector.
They have poured billions into the banks who are now failing in their duty to provide funds at sensible rates to mortgage applicants and businesses, but continue to pay obscene bonuses to the chosen few.
Those same self-serving individuals take no responsibility for their gross incompetence. Our politicians appear to believe that all they have to do is increase taxes and cut services, whilst protecting their own lifestyles of course, and everything will be OK again.
We are staring economic disaster in the face. It is irrefutable that we need to pay down the debt and we must start now. In doing so, however, we must invest in key sectors such as housing to create jobs and keep people in decent low carbon housing. This will go some way to protecting the UK manufacturing of building materials, which is vital if we are to create real wealth in the future. This will also ensure we retain and develop employment opportunities which will prove a vital factor in our long-term recovery.
We have learnt to our cost that we cannot rely on our political and economic leaders to act properly and shrewdly to manage our economy. We must stand up and fight now to engage the new Parliament and GET BRITAIN BUILDING!
So it’s goodbye to yet another Housing Minister!
Spare the tears for Margaret Beckett. True she inherited a housing industry on its knees but she has done the sum total of nothing to change this situation. Her attitude has been appalling and one could be forgiven for believing that she had no real interest in the job in the first place, perhaps preferring lifestyle in her beloved caravan.
As we welcome John Healey to the crease as the new Housing Minister, we must hope that we have at least found a Minister who will work with us to deal with the very serious issues that face us and that are at the very heart of the creation of sustainable communities where people have jobs and decent homes to live in.
Welcome aboard, John. Let’s hope we can together “Get Britain Building”.
You can't spin us out of this one!
Having achieved cross party support from Westminster, the Welsh Assembly and the Scottish Parliament, you may believe that the instigators of the “Get Britain Building” campaign are feeling pretty pleased with the progress so far.
Not so, we are instead enormously frustrated with a political system that seems almost totally ineffective and seems to believe that re-presenting the same old plans and money is the answer to preventing the catastrophic decline in our industry and the economy as a whole.
The budget came and went with nothing but a few scraps for the UK’s single most important industry and still we remain on course to lose some 450,000 jobs by the end of 2009!
Instead the Government introduces scrapage schemes to support the sales of foreign produced cars and have the audacity to say that they did this to find favour with those few consumers they interviewed in a series of focus groups. It is clear that the Government is far more interested in sound bite politics that play to the gallery, rather than solving the underlying economic problems, saving UK jobs and fueling the long-term recovery we so desperately need.
Enough is enough. We need urgent action before it's too late. The time has come for our leaders to stand up and be counted and really deliver a build program based on a cut in VAT, investment in existing homes and 75,000 new social homes.