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Construction industry ‘vital’ to recovery

There will be no economic recovery without the construction industry. That was made clear at a Construction Products Association Parliamentary Reception last night.
The audience of 100 parliamentarians and 150 senior industry leaders, civil servants and journalists heard CPA chairman Bill Bolsover say that the construction industry had a vital role to play in helping achieve economic recovery.

Bolsover said: “Every pound that is invested in our industry generates £2.84p of economic activity across the economy, the kind of return that most private sector companies would die for. Yet none of this is possible without the products and materials that are supplied by the companies we represent.”

He called for an extension of the 5% VAT rate on energy costs and certain energy-efficient products to be extended. “The householder pays 5% VAT on her gas and electricity use. Yet if she wishes to invest in products and improvements to her house which will make it more energy efficient, she has to pay 17.5%.”

Bolsover said that spending cuts and tax increases alone will not revive the economy and that they must be coupled with private sector growth to generate economic activity, create employment and nurture the fragile economic recovery. “More than any other industry, construction is an essential element for this economic growth.”

He also pointed out that construction has a lower profile in the general consciousness than the car industry, yet employs five times the number of people.

“If the UK is to compete in the global market our companies must not be hampered by wholly unacceptable delays in obtaining planning permission for minerals and factory development; by regulation and tax regimes that are more onerous and more bureaucratic than other European countries.

“Failure to address these issues will mean that we increasingly import the products and materials from other countries, something that cannot be economically, socially, or environmentally sustainable.”

Also speaking at the reception were Lorely Burt MP for Solihull who hosted the event, Charles Henry, Energy Minister and John Healey, Shadow Housing Minister and former housing minister under the previous administration.

About Fiona Russell-Horne

Group Managing Editor across the BMJ portfolio.

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