Opinion: Cut red tape not capital spending

Grant Prior 11 years ago
Share

Spending cuts are the darkest cloud in some very stormy skies ahead for the construction industry.

This week’s spending figures from the Office of National Statistics paint a worrying picture of a panicking Government cutting in all the wrong places.

The accounts showed that public spending actually increased in April across all areas except capital expenditure.

Talk about getting things arse about face.

Capital investment is the one area guaranteed to create future value and help the construction sector through these tough times.

Whenever cuts in the health service are discussed everyone agrees that doctors and nurses must be protected at all costs.

A similar argument can be made with infrastructure spending where transport schemes and public buildings should be the last to suffer because they provide a real benefit.

But we seem to have engineered a cuts programme where the physical investment gets dumped before the mountain of bureaucracy and waste behind it.

Chancellor George Osborne has talked a good fight about efficiency.

Unfortunately he seems to have handed over the implementation of the programme to a raft of public servants who will do anything to protect their position.

Waste in public bodies is still rife despite all the tough talk and the end result is that vital investment is suffering while the gravy train rolls on for many in public life.

The construction sector, like the general economy, is in a dire state in many parts of the country with any recovery concentrated in London.

The Government cannot simply turn-off the investment tap in deprived areas after decades of public support or we will create social divides deeper than anything experienced for a generation.

The great hope of the private sector leading the recovery is also being hampered by a regulatory regime in this country which stifles entrepreneurship.

Contractors are still tied-down by red tape with no sign of any relaxing of regulations.

Employment laws are a sick joke which leave many construction companies terrified of taking on new staff because of a tribunal system which starts off assuming companies are always guilty.

Planning laws continue to frustrate new developments and contractors are often obstructed at every turn rather than encouraged.

The message to the Chancellor is a simple one.

Cut bureaucracy and waste before you cut capital spending and let’s have a real red tape bonfire to set companies free again.

Latest news

Structural steel price jumps another £50 a tonne

British Steel blames New Year's price hike on continuing high product costs
7 hours ago

Green light for Birmingham Paradise landmark hotel

17-storey hotel will be the 'cornerstone' of Phase 2
6 hours ago

Enabling works start at £400m Manchester First Street

Downing to start main construction in March of three resi buildings rising up to 45 storeys
7 hours ago

Former BAM Nuttall chief to join Murphy

Adrian Savory to start new role as director of Major Projects division next month
6 hours ago

Bouygues set for London Tustin Estate 700-home rebuild

Phased building programme to start towards the end of the year
7 hours ago

Safety horror show on housing site leads to director ban

Court hears contractor ignored multiple prohibition and improvement notices
7 hours ago

JV North calls up local firms for £250m new home works

Framework for home building projects worth up to £2m
7 hours ago

Kier more than halves debts to below £200m

Kier chief reports steady progress in first six months of trading
1 day ago

Barhale boosts funds as it looks to rebuild turnover

Contractor confident as water companies ramp-up spending plans
1 day ago

HS2 labour agency looks to float on AIM

£23m turnover labour supply business looks to raise funds for expansion
1 day ago

Kane scores £29m M&E deal with Willmott Dixon

Off site works to play crucial role in major London estate contract
1 day ago

Graham secures third Audley retirement village

Work starts on Audley Villages site at Scarcroft, West Yorkshire.
1 day ago

Keltbray wins first deal for former nmcn infrastructure arm

Hull waste processing contract for rescued division
2 days ago

50 firms win £750m decarbonisation framework

Fusion21 framework to target 'whole building' works on homes and schools
2 days ago

Balfour Beatty UK construction MD to step down

Tom Edgcumbe to depart after just over a year as MD construction services in England and Wales
2 days ago

Crest Nicholson trebles cladding retrofit provisions to £43m

House builder revises building safety retrofit costs in face of new Government guidance
2 days ago

BAM bags £110m refurb of iconic Covent Garden tower

Landmark Seifert-designed 15-storey Space House to get two extra floors
3 days ago

Winvic to start UK’s largest speculative shed

Ellesmere Port warehouse understood to be worth around £80m
2 days ago

Kier signs deal for £169m Luton hospital revamp

Main construction work to start this month and last until 2024
2 days ago

Willmott Dixon nabs £30m Kirklees police HQ

Work to start within next few weeks on regional police HQ
3 days ago

Kier reported to be in talks to buy Tilbury Douglas

Talks reported to be at an advanced stage between both boards
3 days ago

Finance sealed for next-generation London office job

Goldman Sachs takes stake in London Bridge office project
3 days ago

John F Hunt starts giant clean-up on £110m Walsall site

Land remediation work at contaminated site will take two years
3 days ago

Build to rent boom lifts Watkin Jones profit to £52m

Surging build to rent market lifts development pipeline to £1.8 billion
3 days ago

HS2 awards £310m station lifts and escalators deal

TK Elevator signs 160 lifts and 130 escalators deal for four stations
4 days ago

Robot cutter set to revolutionise paving jobs for Eurovia

Automated system will spell end for noisy slab cutting on busy sites
4 days ago

First mass built carbon negative homes get underway

St Modwen first volume developer to build affordable carbon-negative homes
4 days ago

GMI Construction names new CEO

Lee Powell takes helm as CEO at GMI Construction in growth push
4 days ago

514-home London scheme clears final hurdle

Inland Homes declares victory after three-year planning battle over Hillingdon Master Brewer site
4 days ago

Henry Construction wins £30m Clarion housing scheme

Ravensbury estate regeneration in Mitcham is Henry's first project for Clarion
4 days ago

Contractor services