Opinion: Cut red tape not capital spending

Grant Prior 12 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

Moving in to new markets paying off for McLaren

Contractor carving out new niche as leading player in heavy refurbs
2 days ago

Plan to add retentions record to payment reporting law

Government consults on tougher reporting to include disputed invoices and retention policies
3 days ago

Morgan Sindall wins £88m Beckton DLR depot upgrade

Delayed work to start on Docklands Light Railway train maintenance depot in East London
3 days ago

Hare and Severfield win £250m Sellafield deal

Country's two biggest steelwork contractors secure 17-year framework
3 days ago

Max Steward returns to head up ISG’s Agility fit-out arm

Former ISG project director returns after three years to take up MD role
3 days ago

McLaren wins massive Portland House refurb

Construction to start this year on £380m revamp of 28-storey building in central London
3 days ago

Green light for £275m HS2 Midlands nerve centre

Trio of contractors battling it out to win huge new depot near Birmingham
3 days ago

Winners named for Government £10bn offsite framework

29 firms secure places on mega framework for schools, healthcare, defence and justice jobs
4 days ago

ISG, Amey and Costain now industry’s quickest payers – list

Average payment times from main contractors slip by a day
4 days ago

Staff at Outco Surfacing start looking for new jobs

Administration notice filed two years after acquisition of NMC Group
4 days ago

£4.75m building work provision tips Higgins into the red

Partnerships business counts cost of changes to building safety rules
4 days ago

John F Hunt snaps up London temporary works design firm

Demolition contractor buys geotechnical and structural engineering design specialist RKD Consultant
4 days ago

Vital Energi lands £13m package at Plumstead regen site

Specialist will start on site this summer helping to transform the former home of Arsenal FC
4 days ago

Galliford Try to start £14m Scunthorpe Market scheme

Firm will build NHS staff accommodation and offices in two phases
4 days ago

Vast £500m British Library expansion go-ahead

London Mayor still needs to give final nod to 800,000 sq ft extension at St Pancras site in London
5 days ago

Wates names new chief executive

Cork-born Eoghan O’Lionaird to join later this month
5 days ago

Keltbray director joins Barhale as North East chief

Mark Wood heads operations in Yorkshire and North East England
5 days ago

Major London City building green deep retrofit approved

St Bride’s Tavern near Fleet Street will be demolished for the building expansion
5 days ago

Gilbert Ash lands starring role in £38m Welsh theatre revamp

Contractor to start work this year on Theatr Clwyd upgrade
5 days ago

Property clients to ramp up spending on decarbonising

Survey reveals nearly half of property chiefs plan to speed up spending on net-zero programmes over next twelve months
5 days ago

Average self employed labour rates top £1,000 a week

Average weekly earnings reach high for skilled trades
6 days ago

BAM wins £49m Harrogate Convention Centre revamp

Local council hopes to sanction work start this autumn
6 days ago

Renaker to top-out Manchester with 71-storey skyscraper

Developer lifts the lid on planned five-building cluster for phase 3 of Great Jackson Street development
6 days ago

Costain bridge lift delayed by ground conditions

National Highways chiefs postpone planned lifting operation
6 days ago

Nexus sells utilities and EV contracting arms for £78m

Group to now focus on remaining business at south east housing civils contractor Tamdown
6 days ago

Speller Metcalfe lands lead role on £40m Tamworth revamp

Town centre to be transformed under ambitious plans
6 days ago

Scaffold boss banned over covid loan abuse

Eleven-year director ban after misuse of £50,000 loan
6 days ago

Gove issues six weeks ultimatum to sign building safety contract

Developers told to sign Government contract issued today or be banned from building homes
7 days ago

Firm fined £120,000 for lifting two builders in a telehandler bucket

Rochdale builder Hoyle Developments fined after repeated safety breaches
1 week ago

Hunt quashes reports HS2 will stop at Old Oak Common

Chancellor says no "conceivable circumstance" where HS2 would not terminate in Central London
1 week ago

Contractor services