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Construction bodies urge chancellor to unlock infrastructure investment

A group of seven construction industry groups has urged chancellor George Osborne to announce new measures to encourage infrastructure investment when he delivers his Autumn Statement on Tuesday.

In the report, Unlocking Growth in UK Construction, the groups asked for public expenditure to be rebalanced in favour of capital investment and new financing models for major infrastructure projects to unlock growth in the UK construction industry. The report’s recommendations followed a survey of the memnbers of trade bodies including the Association for Consultancy & Engineering, the Civil Engineering Contractors Association, the ICE and the Construction Products Association.

The biggest barrier that larger companies face in delivering new construction was funding, with 78% of respondents identifying it as a major barrier. Other significant barriers were planning and demand.

Members of the Association for Consultancy and Engineering (ACE), the Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA), the Construction Products Association, the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE), the Federation of Master Builders (FMB), the National Federation of Builders (NFB), and the Scottish Building Federation were all surveyed and asked to indicate what they considered to be the main barriers to growth in the UK construction industry.

Based on the responses received, the report makes six key recommendations to unlock growth in the UK construction industry:

• Rebalance public expenditure between capital and current spending;

• Reduce VAT for sustainable domestic upgrades to 5 per cent;

• Identify new models of infrastructure finance;

• Ensure banking support to the construction industry;

• Maintain course on planning reform in England;

• Improve the availability of affordable mortgages for first time buyers.

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