Tom Keighley

Member Article

Construction body paints bleak five-year industry picture

The UK construction sector might not properly recover until 2022, a report from the Construction Skills Network suggests.

Prospects for the next five years are bleak according to the report as only sectors such as private housing, repair and maintenance and industrial predicted to achieve anything like consistent growth.

Falls in output are predicted every year from 2013 to 2016, and recruitment to the industry is estimated to run at an average of 29,050 a year from now until 2017.

A miserable picture of 2012 includes 20% downturn in public sector housing and non-housing construction, and a 15% downturn in infrastructure construction.

Wales, Greater London and the North east are expected to make the most headway in output over the 2013-17 period, while the industry is predicted to shrink in the North West, Midlands and Yorkshire and Humber.

Judy Lowe, Deputy Chairman of CITB-ConstructionSkills, said: “Construction found itself at the heart of a ‘perfect storm’ in 2012 – hit hard by a combination of public sector spending cuts and a lack of investment in the private sector. Client and consumer confidence is low and it is keeping growth levels down.

“Worryingly, the outlook doesn’t look much better – by 2017, construction output will still be 12% down on its 2007 peak, and employment 17% down on its peak in 2008. Indeed, we don’t anticipate the industry returning to its former levels until at least 2022 – meaning this will be one of the most difficult periods for construction on record.

“What’s bad for construction is bad for the economy, so doing nothing is not an option. There is too much at stake. Construction remains the only industry that can kickstart the economy in the short, medium and long term. We know that, for every £1 invested in construction, £2.84 is generated for the wider economy. “

This week the Construction4Growth campaign will dispatch representatives from over 1,400 construction bodies and employers to meet Ministers at an Downing Street Summit.

Their plan includes investment in “shovel-ready” repair and maintenance project for unemployed workers; a mandatory requirement for teachers to undertake taster courses to understand the value of a vocational careers; and ways to get projects delivered as part of the Government’s pledged capital investment in construction.

Judy Lowe continued: “There are currently over 150,000 unemployed construction workers. This potentially costs the economy £2.1bn a year in unemployment benefit and lost tax revenue. The actions we are proposing are straightforward, easy to implement and will deliver the results that re-establish construction as an essential element of economic growth.”

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Tom Keighley .

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