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Subcontractors ‘missing out’ on biggest jobs

London from the air

Only one in five subcontractors say they benefit from national infrastructure contracts, according to a new survey.

More than three quarters – 78% – said they had no benefit from national infrastructure projects, according to specialist funder Bibby Financial Services (BFS) in its Subcontracting Growth report.

“Despite the sound of claxons coming from government each time a large scale infrastructure project is announced, it is clear that any benefits to the construction industry are swallowed up by the large and the few. Our research shows there are minimal signs of contracts and work trickling down to smaller businesses for these multi-billion pound projects,” said BFS managing director of construction Helen Wheeler.

“In recent years we have seen the Northern Powerhouse begin to take shape and in the last few months the go ahead for Hinkley Point and Heathrow’s third runway. What’s missing though is evidence that these projects are providing trade and jobs to a wider range of businesses throughout the construction industry.”

Wheeler said ahead of the Autumn Statement, where investment in infrastructure is expected to be used as a financial stimulus, contractors are calling for support to better benefit from major projects.

The survey found that when considering work opportunities, 45% said commercial contracts were the most beneficial, 24% said housebuilding and only 4% said they saw national infrastructure projects as an opportunity to secure more work.

Earlier this year, Somerset Chamber of Commerce set up a Hinkley Supply Chain Team to help small businesses benefit from the project and recently a further £240M was awarded to local firms in contracts.

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