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Prescott drops Egan funding

DEPUTY PRIME Minister John Prescott this week told the construction industry that he was no longer prepared to meet all of the £1M annual cost of spreading the message of the Egan report.

The industry now faces the challenge of raising around £750,000 each year for the Movement for Innovation, the body charged with implementing the recommendations of the Rethinking construction report.

Options for funding include subscriptions - which have been adopted by M4i's self-financing sister the Housing Forum; or voluntary contributions like those used by the oil and gas industry in supporting its CRINE best practice initiative.

Matching funding will also be sought from Government.

Making M4i self-supporting was one of five challenges presented to the industry by construction minister Nick Raynsford on behalf of Prescott at an industry conference in Birmingham this Monday.

Although he claimed the Government would 'continue to play a crucial role' he added that the industry needs 'to provide the commitment and the resources needed to ensure that M4i becomes self-sustaining and self- financing'.

At the moment Government funds the work of the M4i board with the industry seconding personnel to it.

The other Prescott challenges for the industry to pick up in the coming year are:

to make the Construction Industry Board more effective.

to use demonstration projects to give a higher profile to sustainability in construction.

to take better care of demonstration projects that tackle equal opportunities, health and safety and training. Key performance indicators relating to respect for people are also to be worked up.

to establish a clients' charter that sets minimum standards expected in construction procurement. The target is for clients representing half the UK's domestic expenditure on construction to sign the charter.

Prescott, who had to stay in London, praised the industry for its response to the drive for change.

Using a videolink he told the conference: 'I congratulate you on an excellent start.'

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