We have been very pleased with the positive feedback from our guests following our annual Parliamentary Reception, held earlier in the week. Our host Lord Tebbit, together with Michael Fallon MP and Iain Wright MP, all spoke well of the need to develop a true partnership between Government and industry that will move us forward to meet the challenges of the 21st century built environment. Our Association is committed to now delivering our part of the Industrial Strategy for Construction, and we look forward to working closely with our members and the Parties to improve performance, competitiveness, reputation and sustainability in construction.
As guests heard on the night and recent headlines reflect, the industry as a whole has had a positive summer and we are seeing an increase in activity across all sectors and across the country. We welcome the Parties’ support in prioritising action on key issues impacting that activity; particularly around energy security, regulatory coherence, streamlining the delivery of public projects on the ground, access to finance, protection against late payment, and support for ‘green’ innovation.
Our Chairman Geoff Cooper (also Chief Exec of Travis Perkins plc) alluded to the stories of shortages of some building materials in the housing sector; as part of our early work on the Industrial Strategy related to capacity issues we have done a survey of Association members which identifies the real issues behind those stories. We have provided copies of this to Ministers over the past month and the many members of Parliament who came to our Reception. We are attaching a copy here, and hope it shows that the industry can and is delivering.
Geoff also stressed the importance of the Coalition’s efforts to incentivise the £20 billion per year market for repair, maintenance and improvements (“RM&I”) to the U.K.’s housing stock. As he highlighted, the life expectancy of houses in the U.K., whether built of timber or brick, is much longer than some other countries where more frequent renewal of the stock ensures the opportunity for regular improvements in energy performance. We are eager, therefore, to leverage our members’ expertise and refine existing programmes to deliver improvements in existing housing and commercial stock. For the Green Deal, we believe further incentives are needed and will again be proposing the linking of stamp duty to a home’s energy performance. We will continue to promote this in the run-up to the Autumn Statement.
Altogether, a successful evening for everyone involved, but also an opportunity to take stock and recognise the important work that remains ahead if we’re to promote the key role this industry plays both in the future of construction and the recovery of UK plc.