Opinion Former Article

CPA: Darling's political rhetoric insufficient to tackle challenges ahead

The Construction Products Association has welcomed the recognition in the Chancellor's first Budget statement of the challenges faced on climate change, housing and transport; but stressed that rhetoric alone will not resolve these issues.

Michael Ankers, Chief Executive at the Association, said: "We are pleased that the Chancellor has recognised these challenges, and confirmed that action is needed to address these issues. However, it is disappointing that the Chancellor chose not to utilise this opportunity to lay out in detail how the government will begin to deliver its solutions to these crucial challenges.

"The Chancellor's renewed commitment to provision of new housing is welcome. However, the announcement of an additional 70,000 homes does little towards meeting the government's stated aim of three million new homes by 2020. It remains unclear how this target will be met.

"The government has also missed the opportunity to address the problem of carbon emissions from existing housing stock. Government must recognise that it has a key role to play in encouraging householders to invest in energy saving measures. The Chancellor has a responsibility to provide fiscal incentives, through a reduction in either stamp duty or in VAT on specific energy saving products. This will significantly influence homeowners spending priorities in a way that will support the programme to reduce carbon emissions in the UK.

"The Association welcomes the recognition from the Chancellor that historically investment in transport infrastructure has been poor. However, having abandoned its original target of a 5% cut in congestion on the national road network by 2010, the government's new target is also at risk. Construction of new and improved roads is now at its lowest for a quarter of a century and the current pace of progress is proving insufficient to accommodate traffic growth and curb congestion. The government must now make firm commitments to reduce congestion if this issue is to be resolved."

ENDS

NOTE TO EDITORS:

The Construction Products Association represents the UK's manufacturers and suppliers of construction products, components and fittings. The Association acts as the voice of the construction products sector, representing the industry-wide view of its members. The sector has an annual turnover of £40 billion and accounts for 40% of total construction output.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Michael Ankers. Chief Executive
Construction Products Association
Tel : 020 7323 3770
Fax : 020 7323 0307
E-mail : michael.ankers@constructionproducts.org.uk

Simon Storer. External Affairs Director
Construction Products Association
Tel : 020 7323 3770
Fax : 020 7323 0307
Mobile : 0770 286 2257
E-mail : simon.storer@constructionproducts.org.uk,/a>

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