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Don’t ignore construction

Business secretary Peter Mandelson’s new industrial strategy is focusing on high tech industries at the expense of construction, materials producers said last week.

Construction Products Association (CPA) chairman Adrian Barden said construction needed more attention because of its economic importance.    

“By anyone’s definition, there is a crisis situation in construction and the government doesn’t seem to take the construction industry anything like as seriously as it does the car industry, aerospace, or telecommunications even though construction has a share of the economy greater than these three industries added together.” Barden was attacking Mandelson’s “New industry, new jobs” industrial strategy which was published last month.    

“We recognise we need to support those industries where we have competitive advantage, but any industrial strategy needs to also look at the more stable base of products like construction, food and drink,” said CPA chief executive Michael Ankers.    

He warned that consumers and businesses would source food, drink and construction produce from countries like the Netherlands and France if British products became uncompetitive.    

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