Creating Britain’s Future launches Manchester campaign

David McCourt

Local decision makers and senior political figures met with members of the construction industry at Manchester Town Hall today for the regional launch of the Creating Britain's Future campaign.

Those present discussed the need for investment in the industry as a means of encouraging economic growth and creating jobs in Manchester and the North West.

The construction industry input £8bn into the North West in the first three quarters of 2012 and the sector employs over 200,000 people, representing over 6% of the local work force.

The construction industry has the capability to deliver world class projects in Manchester and the surrounding area, such as One St Peters' Square, the 56km extension to the tramway system linking the airport and Oldham to the city centre, and a transformational academies building programme across Oldham and the St Catherine and Firwood Academy.

The difficult economic environment has had a damaging effect on the sector as new public and private sector work declined 17% in 2012 compared to 2011, and planning approvals last year in Manchester were down 28% on the previous year.

Construction output in the North West is expected to fall by an annual average of 0.9% between 2012 and 2016.

Coordinated by the UK Contractors Group and its member companies, the Creating Britain's Future campaign was originally launched last summer in London by Dame Tessa Jowell MP to coincide with the Olympics. It is now being rolled out to different cities throughout the UK during 2013.

Speaking at the event at Manchester Town Hall will be Sir Howard Bernstein, chief executive of Manchester City Council, Paul Sheffield, chief executive of Kier Group and Mike Lane, project director at Willmott Dixon's Oldham academies project.

Paul Sheffield, chief executive of Kier Group, said: "Working together to drive forward local construction activity is becoming ever more important as we continue to face economic challenges, and it is great to see the work Manchester City Council is doing to support infrastructure investment. Construction is essential to maintain the city's competitiveness and is creating much needed employment in Manchester and the North West.

"However, there is more that can be done. The industry needs to work closely with local political leaders and central government to ensure that the value infrastructure brings to the region, and the wider country, is understood.

"Key to supporting our industry is the ability to unlock new capital to support projects by making use of surplus land and pension fund assets, and delivering value for money for tax payers through the efficient use of resources."

Stephen Ratcliffe, director of the UKCG, said: "The significance of the construction industry to the national and local economy should not be underestimated. Every £1 invested in the sector generates £2.84 in economic activity, and 92p of every £1 spent on construction in the North West is retained within the region.

"Support for the Creating Britain's Future campaign can make a real difference in helping to stimulate local growth and creating jobs."

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Slight double standards ring my ears MCC, having just awarded a £25m contract for HOME (Place article 14Jan), designed by Mecanoo.

By James Peters