The building of energy efficient homes will be vital in delivering the government’s climate change initiatives and the Construction Products Association want to see more investment to make it happen.
CPA chairman Adrian Barden launched a major initiative to highlight this issue at the Association’s Autumn Lunch. Speaking to an audience of nearly 400 industry leaders, politicians and government officials, Barden said: “We are encouraged by the Chancellor’s commitment to maintain the current levels of capital investment in the current Comprehensive Spending Review and to look at ways of bringing forward spending from later in the period to help minimise the impact of the economic downturn. As a result we urge him to look at using some of this money to fund improvements to the existing housing stock.
“Critically this will help meet government targets on climate change and will spread the benefits more widely across the country. It will also help many of the smaller companies in the construction industry which typically undertake this work. The time has come for action, not further consultation and today we launch a major initiative to ensure all MPs are fully aware of these issues and committed to supporting urgent action.”
He also stressed the need to confront the housing crisis: “Housing is clearly a priority for us and we all know the perilous state of the housing market, with the lowest number of starts since 1945. It is therefore imperative that funds are brought forward to buy land and fund the housing that will help maintain a modicum of housebuilding in this country. Without decisive action we know we are only storing up problems for the future.”
Barden praised the construction industry and highlighted some of the enormous benefits that had already been delivered with improvements to the built environment. He singled out the Building Schools for the Future programme which had transformed young lives and opened up unseen opportunities. He also urged the government to take decisive action to restore liquidity in the financial markets which he said was crucial in ensuring the construction industry continued to deliver the projects that society demanded.
Barden continued: “As we enter into a recession now is not the time to cut back on those things that will bolster the economy or that will prepare us to take full advantage of the upturn when it comes. Investment that improves the education and skill base of our workforce, or provides the much needed improvements to our infrastructure is exactly what we should be spending government money on. The alternative is to consign ever increasing numbers of people to unemployment and state benefits.”