Opinion Former Article

Construction Products Association: Comprehensive Spending Review must maintain level of spending on the built environment

The Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR) needs to set out a clear programme which ensures levels of investment in the built environment increase in line with growth in the economy over the next 3 years and beyond according to a joint submission to the Chancellor from the Chairman of the Construction Confederation and the President of the Construction Products Association. The Review also needs to include clear programmes and output targets for what this investment will deliver on the ground.

The submission from the two bodies, which together represent the economic heart of the construction industry, urges Government to work more closely with the industry to secure better value for the money it spends and to take full account of the growing importance of delivering construction projects in a sustainable way in order to leave a valuable legacy to future generations.

Construction Products Association President, John Colley said; 'Whilst much has been achieved since 2000, many of the targets set by Government have not been achieved or progress towards meeting them is still behind schedule. The UK is still at the bottom of the European league when it comes to investment in the built environment and this is holding back improvements in the quality of life of people in the UK as well as business attempts to improve competitiveness.'

Construction Confederation Chairman, James Wates, went on to say; 'This Comprehensive Spending Review presents an opportunity to continue the renewal of the nation's built environment - its transport infrastructure, homes, schools, hospitals and workplaces. This is not the time to reverse the increase in investment that has been hard won in recent years and which is only now beginning to bear fruit in a number of key areas. Government needs to maintain that investment and work with industry to ensure it secures best value for money and helps us to achieve the maximum efficiency and sustainability in all that we do.'

Amongst the commitments that the Government is urged to make in the CSR are;

. Endorsement of the recommendations in the Eddington Review on Transport supported by a clear statement of investment priorities for the next 10-15 years;

. Clear long term targets to address the continuing social housing needs of the country, both in terms of the increase in social housing provision and raising the condition (and particularly the energy efficiency) of the existing housing stock;

. Confirmation of the existing commitment to increase capital spending on schools to around £8 billion a year by the end of CSR period to ensure that that the ambitious targets that have been set can be met;

. A clear programme for addressing the £3.7 billion backlog of disrepair in the NHS estate and a commitment to the level of funding that is needed to support this.

A key theme of the submission is the need to improve efficiency in public sector procurement. Whilst welcoming the Treasury's recent announcement on transforming government procurement, it sets out a number of relatively straightforward steps which, it says, would help the Government deliver significant savings within construction spending programmes. Both the Construction Confederation and the Construction Products Association are committed to working with Government collectively or with individual departments or agencies to bring about these potentially significant efficiency savings.




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.

The Construction Confederation is the main representative organisation for building and civil engineering contractors within the UK construction industry, one of the largest and most diverse sectors within the British economy.

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