Tessa Jowell MP has joined UK construction leaders in calling on the public and private sectors to back the industry.   Dame Tessa Jowell MP, a member of the Olympic Board, has today joined UK construction leaders in calling on the central government and local authorities to speed up investment in infrastructure projects and promote investment in the industry as an important means of stimulating jobs and growth.   Ms Jowell was speaking at the launch of the UK Contractors Group’s (UKCG) new campaign – ‘Creating Britain’s Future’ – pointing to the delivery of the Olympic Games as an example of Britain’s ability to deliver on major infrastructure projects.

  She said:    “The story of the Olympic construction is a success story for British business. A project twice the size of Heathrow’s Terminal 5 was built in half the time and half a billion pounds under budget. A strong business legacy and potential area of export growth has been created - with new capacity created for Britain to compete in construction and project management. It’s a real vote of confidence in the ability of UK plc to achieve large scale infrastructure projects.”   The UK construction industry has an excellent track record of delivering projects on time, to budget and generating attractive returns to investors. As KPMG’s recent ‘Infrastructure 100’ league table shows, the UK ‘punches way above its geographic and economic weight’ in terms of quality infrastructure projects delivered.

  Graham Cash, Chief Executive of BAM Construct UK said:

  'BAM Construct UK fully supports this campaign. It is particularly important that Government focuses on the benefits that additional investment could yield in helping to stimulate local economies in the northern half of Britain.'   Paul Sheffield, CEO of Kier Group said:   “The construction industry has one of the highest multipliers of any industry – every £1 invested in construction generates £2.84 in economic value. Yet, construction output is falling as government spending contracts and public sector projects are delayed. Within the current reduced public sector budget, there is more the national government and local authorities could be doing to stimulate construction and create growth; not least by speeding up decision making and finding new ways of financing construction projects.”   Pointing to the dangers of neglecting construction, James Wates, Chairman CITB-ConstructionSkills said:   “Investing in skills and training is a pre-requisite as we move out of recession and back to growth. Construction has lost 200,000 people since the start of the recession and apprenticeship numbers have halved – leaving fewer opportunities for young people coming into our industry. Our industry faces a ticking time bomb, so we have to invest now to help industry and the UK economy to grow and prosper in the long term. If we fail to invest now, we risk widening the skills gap in the future.”   ENDS