How can we make us Great Britain again?
Having returned from back to back political conferences in Brighton and Manchester I find myself very worried at the lack of ideas as to how we are going to create wealth and make our country “Great “again, and determined to find a way forward.
Whilst both parties profess to understand the need for investing in the construction industry the efforts of Labour and the promises from the Conservative Party fall woefully short of the basic understanding of what the country and indeed our industry needs here and now.
Lord Mandelson thinks he can lead a return to prosperity by using the car scrappage scheme to further fuel the importation of foreign made cars. His extension of this ill thought out scheme using taxpayer’s money is a deep insult to those who have lost their jobs in our industry.
Indeed, talking to one Spanish carmaker this weekend they were delighted to tell me that their factories are busier than ever and they cannot keep up with the demand created by our government. Contrast that with a house building industry that is delivering just 80,000 homes when there are 5 million people waiting for homes and you might begin to see the irony of this dreadful situation.
The Conservatives, however, are committed to us becoming a “Nation of Homebuilders”. This rhetoric might give you some encouragement until you read of their plans to scrap housing targets and encourage local decision making on whether to build homes or not. Talking to Tory councillors this week I was left in no doubt that new homes will not be built anywhere near them if they can stop them.
So here we
stand on the verge of destroying much of the UK building materials manufacturing industry and losing 450,000 skilled workers from our industry by the end of 2009.
Our future lies with one of the two parties who are likely to win the next election who are both falling over themselves to show how they would cut back spending but seem bankrupt of any ideas on how they are going to provide real long term wealth creation opportunities, that will offer good quality employment and homes for our growing population.
Time will tell, but I for one am seriously worried at the growing levels of unemployment which, if as predicted, reach 4 million, by the end of 2010 will bring with it serious problems for us all. This is particularly a problem for the over 50’s who may not recover from redundancy which could result in a lost generation whose lives will be destroyed and who will have to be supported by the taxpayer as they head towards old age.
We cannot expect to pay down our obscene national debt with so many not contributing and the social cohesion issues that may emerge don’t bare thinking about.
Over the coming months we can expect our prospective MP’s to become more interested in what their voters have got to say. Please do not miss this opportunity to leave them in any doubt that the path to economic recovery lies in the construction industry. By investing now in the building of new homes and the refurbishment of the existing stock we can use public money to keep people in work, protect our manufacturing capacity and our skill base, whilst creating a long term legacy that future generations will benefit from.