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Fiscal stimulus is failing, says ACE

The Association for Consultancy and Engineering has warned the Bank of England that the government’s promised fiscal stimulus is not taking effect.

In a meeting on 30 March with Pauline Finlay, Bank of England deputy agent for the West Midlands and Oxfordshire, the ACE said that urgent action was required by the Bank of England and the banking sector in general to break the logjam that is having serious repercussions for Britain’s construction industry.

ACE’s membership and regions director Ian Parker said that members were facing “certain pressure amid uncertain times” as they were forced to take short-term measures to avoid cutting more jobs.

“For many member firms the start of 2009 has been about fire-fighting,” Parker said. “They have reached a point where a more constructive flow of funds is desperately needed. Such funds are crucial, not just for the large headline-making projects like Crossrail and the M25 widening programme, but also for the hundreds of SME firms who are practically living on a hand to mouth basis. A concerted and considered programme of funding is vital if the government is going to show trust in the consultancy and engineering sector to contribute towards the recovery of the economy, which we are in no doubt that it can,” he said.

Monday’s meeting brought together ACE representatives from the regions and sector groups, who informed the Bank that they have yet to see any real results. “There is a definite logjam in the construction industry at present and the effects are being felt throughout,”said Michael Hall, ACE’s policy manager.

“With the ongoing lack of lending to the construction sector and the banks still suffering it’s evident that clear direction is needed, but also that here is a golden opportunity to get Britain building again. There is little sign of the promised funding filtering down to ground level; action is needed sooner rather than later,” said Hall.

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