Opinion: Cut red tape not capital spending

Grant Prior 13 years ago

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

RG Group signs £121m Newcastle rental homes job

Developer Olympian Homes advances 519 flats plan at Pottery Lane site
3 days ago

Geoffrey Osborne files administration notice

Contractor in talks to save parts of the business
3 days ago

Winners named for £260m Manchester Uni framework

B&K, Henry Bros, Graham, Robertson and Vinci among new line-up
3 days ago

Shed specialist Benniman rides out market lull

Worcestershire warehouse builder says industrial and logistics work is picking up again
3 days ago

Another contractor cleared after high profile immigration raid

Adana Construction employees were working legally on site swooped on by Home Office
3 days ago

McAleer & Rushe wants to meet new London suppliers

Contractor holding Meet the Buyer event in London: Register now
3 days ago

McAlpine signs £500m Broadgate dual towers deal

Work to start on iconic 36-storey and 21-storey towers
4 days ago

Worker rescued from collapsed four metre deep trench

Fire crews take six hours to save trapped builder near Blackwall Tunnel
4 days ago

Gove puts another major building scheme on hold

Secretary of State starts another planning fight after M&S defeat
4 days ago

Greenwich University tenders £300m framework

Up to five firms will carry out upgrade and newbuild work at three campuses
4 days ago

Work starts on Manchester 26-storey Obsidian tower

Contractor Domis starts Salboy's 10th Manchester scheme in seven years
4 days ago

Race for £1.3bn West Midlands social homes framework

The Community Housing Group reboots tender race for new build housing
4 days ago

Delancey submits £400m King’s Cross lab plans

200,000 sq ft lab/office project will be built above railway and tube tunnels just 4.5m below
4 days ago

Winners revealed for £150m fire safety framework

New deal will help organisations comply with the Building Safety Act
4 days ago

Sellar plans £500m City tower next to Walkie-Talkie

Consultation starts on London 60 Gracechurch Street tower
5 days ago

Severfield ends year on high with record order book

Orders top £500m with strong future pipeline of opportunities ahead
5 days ago

Second senior director exits National Highways

Commercial director Malcolm Dare set to move on to new role
5 days ago

New scheme fuels London lab building boom

Plans in for 160,000 sq ft Whitechapel scheme near Royal London hospital
5 days ago

Contract race starts for next £155m section of A9 dualling

Prior Information Notice published for Tay Crossing to Ballinluig stretch
5 days ago

£55m Sheffield build-to-rent scheme approved

Demolition to start later this year for 158-flat Sheffield Garden project
5 days ago

London back as most expensive place to build in world

Capital leapfrogs Geneva to top costliest construction rankings
6 days ago

Gas supplier Regent to buy TClarke for £90m

£491m turnover listed building services specialist to be sold
6 days ago

Steel contractor Billington launches into bridge market

Steelwork firm hires staff from failed architectural and bridge specialist SH Structures
6 days ago

McGee employees benefit from rise in profits

Pre-tax profit doubles boosting payouts for Employee Ownership Trust
6 days ago

Lendlease veteran is latest new McAlpine director

Paul Sims joins as Operations Director after 40 years at rival contractor
6 days ago

Costain signs site labour supply deal with four firms

Contractor to use only a quartet of providers for temporary labour supply
6 days ago

BAM go-ahead for Leeds 200,000 sq ft office

Latitude Yellow will complete final plot at Doncaster Monk Bridge site
6 days ago

VolkerFitzpatrick wins £30m logistics job

Latest deal to build five distribution units for Prologis UK
6 days ago

Trio win new Scape utilities consultancy framework

Perfect Circle, AtkinsRéalis and Arcadis win places on
6 days ago

Precast firm FP McCann cleared after immigration raid

Home Office takes no action after public raid on construction site
7 days ago

Contractor services