ECA leader wants infrastructure cash protected

Grant Prior 13 years ago

The new leader of the country’s electrical contractors is urging the government not to repeat the mistakes of the early 1990s and cut infrastructure spending too severely in next week’s Comprehensive Spending Review.

Steve Bratt, who took over as Group CEO of the Electrical Contractors’ Association last month, said: “As George Osborne rightly said in the Emergency Budget, ‘the UK economy needs to be balanced; save, invest and export’.

“This can only be achieved if public spending cuts don’t prevent the completion of crucial infrastructure projects.

“George Osborne has publicly acknowledged that the Government cuts of the early 1990s were too deep, saying that it was ‘easier to stop new things being built than to cut the budget of existing programmes’ which ultimately prolonged the pain of the previous recession, and delayed the healing process.

“In June, the Chancellor gave a green-light for key projects such as upgrading the Tyne and Wear Metro and redeveloping Birmingham’s New Street Station.

“This investment will create opportunities for people working within the regions and leave behind a lasting legacy.  I only hope that the Chancellor does not see this as ‘job done’.

“To ensure recovery, he must commit a steady stream of capital spending over the next few years to fund major projects. Mr Osborne must also prioritise support for SMEs, the backbone of industry, by making lines of credit more readily available.”

Bratt also called for training cash to be protected to prevent future skills shortages.

He said: “Having the right skills in our economy is the key to securing a sustainable basis for growth.  With Michael Gove’s ongoing review of vocational education, it would be disappointing to see funding support slashed, especially given the Coalition Government’s call for work-based apprenticeships to be at the heart of the skills system.

“In order to ensure the UK is well placed to compete in a global marketplace, industry needs to be supported and actively encouraged to deliver training. Companies already pay the on-the-job costs of an apprenticeship, and should not be asked to contribute towards tuition costs.”

“The last recession saw a dramatic fall in the number of apprentices as companies could not afford to train.  This meant that when the economy eventually picked-up, the UK didn’t have sufficient numbers of skilled workers to meet demand, leading firms to seek these skills abroad.

“If lessons from the past are ignored, then this will significantly hinder the UK’s plans to emerge as a highly skilled economy or to tackle the country’s ambitious sustainability targets which call for an urgent need to reduce carbon usage by 80 per cent over the next 40 years.

“As Mr Osborne rightly says, ‘if our country’s skill base and infrastructure remains poor then there will be no growth’, as such Government and industry must work together to ensure that this does not happen.”

Latest news

Lonsdale went down owing £65m to supply chain

More than 600 firms owed money as reduced credit rating sinks M&E giant
2 days ago

Wates only bidder for £80m Cardiff estate rebuild

Council contacted 20 framework firms but received only one bid for 295-home Channel View estate rebuild
2 days ago

£21m legal battle over flawed concrete at Salford flats job

Developer in compensation battle with Arcadis after new concrete core demolished
2 days ago

Abu Dhabi developer Aldar Properties buys London Square

UAE giant swoops on resi specialist in vote of confidence for London market
2 days ago

Hunt for delivery partner to revive New Hospital Programme

Programme delivery partner to get £600m fee to get plans back on track
2 days ago

Green light for new £780m Essex garden village

3,700 homes and four new schools to be built at Dunton Hills
2 days ago

Laing O’Rourke makes a £288m loss

Rampant inflation on fixed-price jobs and problem contracts blow hole in accounts
3 days ago

Keltbray, OCU and Clancy clinch £1bn electricity network upgrade

Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks awards biggest ever deals for central southern England
3 days ago

G&T enlisted for commercial review of HS2 main civils contracts

Phase 1 Main Works Civils Contracts to come under cost scrutiny
3 days ago

TClarke order books doubles to top £1bn for first time

M&E specialist on track to exceed £500m turnover this year
3 days ago

Wates signs Government safety remediation pact

Private builder belatedly signs fire safety developer remediation contract
3 days ago

Liverpool all-electric industrial park approved

McLaren and Caddick in chase for Sefton 800,000 sq ft Atlantic Park scheme
3 days ago

Former Buckingham Group MD to join John F Hunt

Simon Hyams is new Managing Director for Contracting
3 days ago

Three in race for retendered £150m A9 dualling job

Bidders take another look after client takes on more risk
4 days ago

Clancy tops £300m revenue in fifth year of growth

Civils contractor delivers £13.5m pre-tax from water and energy sector work
4 days ago

Tower crane collapses on Edinburgh resi site

Jib falls onto apartment block under construction: Video
4 days ago

Salboy drops office space from Viadux Phase Two

Developer to focus on Manchester residential towers of 76 and 23 storeys
4 days ago

Warwick Uni plan for science and engineering campus

370,000 sq ft science and engineering precinct submitted for planning
4 days ago

Morgan Sindall chalks up Greater Manchester schools treble

Bury, Stockport and Wythenshawe school jobs will create 1,600 pupil places
4 days ago

Plans in for £65m Blackpool multiversity campus

Council leads plan for Talbot Gateway learning campus
4 days ago

Laing O’Rourke wins first phase of £700m Oxford R&D district

Landmark Red Hall and two labs to be built in phase 1a of Oxford North scheme
5 days ago

Ardmore wins retrofit deal on £200m Chancery Lane office

Building will be transformed to provide 105,637 sq ft of office space
5 days ago

Construction’s “Leading Lights” recognised

More than 50 winners in latest Considerate Constructors Scheme awards
5 days ago

Balfour Beatty clinches £20m Norfolk coastal defence jobs

Firm will install rock armour at Cromer and Mundesley
5 days ago

Architects join construction union Unite

Section of Architectural Workers forms official branch
5 days ago

Boot to build £20m lightweight aviation composites factory

Work starts on Sheffield University's COMPASS R&D facility
5 days ago

GMI secures £27m Leeds City College job

Site clearance underway for new Mabgate campus
5 days ago

Balfour signs deal with Koreans for UK power transmission jobs

Contractor strengthens large-scale onshore power transmission capability
6 days ago

36 storey south London build to rent flats tower approved

Construction to start next year on £220m Croydon scheme
6 days ago

Hunt for firms for £400m volumetric offsite deal

Procurement for Housing aims to expand its pool of firms on major offsite framework
6 days ago

Contractor services