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CECA Calls for Budget to put construction industry on the road to recovery

The Civil Engineering Contractors’ Association (CECA) has delivered its 2010 Budget submission to the Treasury, calling for policies that will enable infrastructure to play its role in enabling economic recovery.

CECA has submitted its recommendations to the Treasury, highlighting the need to develop innovative means of securing finance, and addressing the decline in funding for training within the construction industry.

The consequences of a decline in funding available to contractors to continue to train their workforce will not be felt until the economy needs the services of the construction industry, said CECA’s statement. It remains to be seen whether the loss of engineering skills will hold back the wider economic recovery as well as that of the construction industry.

A pressing need

CECA national director Rosemary Beales said the decline in funding is an urgent matter. “The government must urgently address the decline in funding for training within the construction industry,” she said.

“Incentivising contractors to invest in tomorrow’s workforce with a National Insurance Contribution holiday for new entrants and apprentices is an excellent way of doing this.

“There is a pressing need to reduce the UK’s public sector debt, but deciding whether to cut the deficit or invest in and develop vital infrastructure − which is key to boosting the economy − is a false choice.”

CECA identified its 2010 Budget priorities as follows:

  1. The role that infrastructure can play in aiding the economic recovery and delivering sustainable economic growth in the long term should be reflected in the measures taken to reduce public sector debt.
  2. Government should adopt a strategic approach to infrastructure investment, delivering confidence through consistent flows of spending and workload. 
  3. As a key element of a strategic approach to infrastructure investment, the Government should without delay publish a strategy for Infrastructure UK (IUK) to set out a 5-50 year horizon of need in infrastructure, as envisaged in the 2009 Pre-Budget Statement.
  4. Government must also develop innovative means of securing long term finance for major infrastructure projects. Working with the construction industry and potential investors to identify a modified, more efficient PFI model that achieves a sensible allocation of risk must be a priority.
  5. Address the decline in funding for training within the construction industry, with a range of measures including incentivising contractors to invest in tomorrow’s workforce with a National Insurance Contribution holiday for new entrants and apprentices.
  6. Reverse the decision to increase National Insurance Contributions in 2011 to reduce the forecast burden on employers.

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