Opinion: Could do better Mr Cameron

Grant Prior 11 years ago
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A New Year but another round of old promises in the coalition’s Mid-Term Review which was finally unveiled yesterday.

The document was designed as a check-list for what David Cameron and Nick Clegg have achieved so far, alongside plans for the future.

But, as usual, the review was very light on detail and contained no clear strategy for extra investment in infrastructure and housing.

There were vague promises on speeding-up road and rail building and boosting the housing market.

But contractors can be forgiven for feeling they have heard it all before when the road schemes highlighted were those already announced in last month’s Autumn Statement.

Pledges to speed up housing delivery amount to the same set of measures that are already failing to lift housing starts above dismal levels.

The government has to learn that re-announcing investment plans might grab a few cheap headlines – but it doesn’t fool construction professionals.

Telling the world twice you are going to build a £100m road doesn’t make it £200m worth of business on contractors’ books.

Concrete plans are promised in the next Budget – but we’ll believe that when we see it.

In another piece of underwhelming news, it was revealed that chief construction adviser Peter Hansford has been asked to produce an industrial strategy for construction.

You could assume that was his role anyway, but it’s doubtful the industry at large will be pinning much hope for salvation on yet another report compiled by an “advisory council”.

The whole industry is waiting for clear leadership from the Government to help use the talent and resources of construction to kick-start the economy.

Let’s hope Cameron and Clegg start showing it during the second half of their reign. But don’t hold your breath.

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