The Association for Consultancy and Engineering has challenged chancellor Alaistair Darling to keep his promises to continue investment in the built environment by announcing a programme of strategic investment in the construction sector in Wednesday’s Budget.
ACE chief executive Nelson Ogunshakin said: “The government needs to keep investing and remain mindful of the long-term implications of cutting back on infrastructure spending. Many of the plans revealed in November’s pre-Budget report have yet to come to fruition, which makes this Budget even more crucial. We are optimistic that we will see encouraging signs on Wednesday which will aid the recovery of the consultancy and engineering sector.”
The ACE is anticipating a number of areas to be tackled:
- Sustained investment in ‘green business’, with developing technologies and promoting environmental sustainability amongst the priorities.
- Any scheme to introduce more electric cars to the UK’s roads will need to be delivered with feasibility in mind. Practical planning of the infrastructure needed to support such schemes is required.
- Better procurement is an urgent concern. The government can work to prevent protracted and duplicated procurement routes and find new ways of delivering services. The drive to increase efficiency without cutting services has assumed even greater significance in recent months.
- The housing sector is in need of a meaningful boost to stimulate it and ACE is calling for the government to bring forward projects such as the Decent Homes programme to counteract weakening private sector confidence and the contracting UK GDP.
Referring to the awaited plans to boost sustainability, Ogunshakin said: “The fact that the UK is currently in the midst of a recession does not preclude our environmental responsibilities and nor should it provide an excuse to nudge green issues down the list of pressing concerns for this government. There is no ‘bad time to go green’.”
“This will be an important Budget for all consultancy and engineering firms but it will require tangible plans and not just lip service and good intentions on the government’s part if it is to inject the sector with some constructive optimism,” said Ogunshakin.