Top construction chiefs call for more foreign workers

Aaron Morby 2 weeks ago

A dozen construction chiefs have set out a blueprint for the next Government to deliver infrastructure growth and boost the wider economy.

The plan calls on the next Government to implement a dozen reforms to deliver an unprecedented 244 projects that form the UK’s ambitious pipeline.

The hit list of reforms calls for a more flexible immigration system to allow firms to fill immediate skills gaps and help transfer specific skills to the UK workforce.

Tier 1 bosses also want to see the Apprenticeship Levy replaced with a more flexible skills levy focused on upskilling the next generation of home-grown talent.

Construction chiefs behind Blueprint for Growth report
Leo Quinn, Balfour Beatty Ray O’Rourke, Laing O’Rourke Richard Offord, VolkerWessels
John Wilkinson, BAM Mark Reynolds, Mace Richard Robinson, AtkinsRealis
Alex Vaughan, Costain John Morgan, Morgan Sindall James Harris, Mott MacDonald
Bill Hocking, Galliford Try Scott Wardrop, Vinci Mark Naismith, WSP


The firms argue increasing private investment will be essential, but warn obstacles such as policy instability and the planning system have created uncertainty for investors, despite the UK’s sophisticated finance models and attractiveness to pension funds.

As well as calling on the next Government to prioritise infrastructure with a new cabinet minister they also want greater certainty in planning, better budgeting and spending continuity.

Blueprint for Growth – 

A plan to ensure stability, continuity, certainty, and a steady flow of investment

  1. Depoliticise infrastructure by handing control of implementation of strategy to the National Infrastructure Commission
  2. A appoint new Cabinet Minister for infrastructure with cross-department oversight and clout
  3. Increase private investment in public infrastructure by tackling obstacles such as policy stability and uncertainties in the planning system
  4. Timely, holistic decision-making on key areas  such as new nuclear, Carbon Capture, Utilisation and Storage (CCUS), and offshore wind
  5. Improve budget setting to ensure accurate estimations of costs, benefits, and completion times for major projects, avoiding over-optimistic projections
  6. Efficient risk allocation during project procurement to avoid prolonged negotiations and ensure fair distribution of risk ownership.
  7. Investment continuity by avoiding delays on projects such as HS2 and Lower Thames Crossing which just raises costs and uncertainty
  8. Simplify the judicial review process to refuse automatically Judicial Reviews where detailed examination already carried out in the Development Consent Order consultation and scrutiny
  9. Mandate consideration of the national interest to force local authorities to consider the overall economic well-being of UK in decisions
  10. Self-certification system to accelerate delivery by allowing post-consent non-material changes in Nationally Significant Infrastructure projects
  11. Transform the Apprenticeship Levy to create a more flexible ‘Skills Levy’ to allow employers to allocate funds efficiently to bridge skill gaps, prioritising upskilling and shorter technical courses.
  12. A flexible immigration system giving firms freedom to bring in experts from other countries to transfer specific skills to UK workforce. Simplify bureaucratic processes for bringing in short-term workers

Click here for Blueprint for Growth

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