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Plans for 1,500 much-needed new homes, a primary school and shops at the new town of Northstowe have been given the green light by councillors.
The landmark decision to approve outline planning permission for the first phase of the exemplar new town – which will ultimately see 10,000 new homes built – means developers could begin work in 2013 to address shortages of homes in the area.
As well as new homes, a primary school, and shops, Gallagher’s plans for the first phase also include a sports hub, areas of open space, a local centre, employment opportunities and a site for a household recycling centre.
A further report will now be presented to the Northstowe Joint Development Control Committee early next year with details of how construction of the town would put “quality first” while making sure it is still financially viable to go ahead.
The approval by councillors follows a public consultation in the summer and negotiations with developers, which now mean plans include a cycleway linking Northstowe and Bar Hill during phase one of the town. A network of cycleways and footpaths will also be built to give easy access for Northstowe residents to the Guided Busway and improvements to the Bar Hill junction of the A14 will be funded by the first phase.
The plans for the Bar Hill junction follow recent Government announcements committing £7.7 million to widen the A14 between Girton and Histon in 2014 as a short term measure to alleviate congestion and improve safety, in advance of a major upgrade to the road.
In a letter to Cllr Ray Manning, Leader of South Cambridgeshire District Council, last week, Housing Minister, Mark Prisk MP, confirmed he was “committed to work in partnership with local authorities and scheme promoters to accelerate delivery” as Northstowe was a “high priority” for the Government.
In the letter he also stated he supported both councils in their bid to deliver a high quality new town with exemplar standards and reiterated renewed commitment to a major upgrade to the A14 and the construction of Cambridge Science Park Railway Station.
“We are committed to working with you and other partners as a matter of urgency to develop a package of support that will help to accelerate delivery and remove barriers to the establishment of a high quality new town demonstrating exemplar standards,” said Mr Prisk.
He added: “I can also confirm that the Government fully recognises the important role that both the proposed A14 upgrade and the creation of a new Cambridge Science Park Station will play in the development of Northstowe. We remain committed to the timely delivery of these schemes.”
Detailed plans containing information on exactly where the homes, roads and facilities will be built on the site, as well as how landscaping and drainage will be features of the development, will now begin to be developed. These are expected to be submitted on a regular basis throughout the next 12 months and council bosses have committed to consult with communities, and a parish forum set up for the town, every step of the way.
Cllr Tim Wotherspoon, South Cambridgeshire District Council’s cabinet member for Northstowe, said:
“The decision today is a huge landmark for Northstowe as the town has been talked about for more than ten years. We are now at the stage of turning a vision into a reality and will begin to look at the fine detail to make sure the town is of the highest quality possible. There is an acute need for new homes in South Cambridgeshire – especially those that are affordable – to support the jobs being created, but we will continue to put residents and quality first to make sure the right facilities are there from day one. Clearly transport is always a concern with any new development and I am very pleased the Government has reaffirmed their commitment to tackling the major upgrade need on the A14 quickly so future phases of the new town can go ahead.”
Cllr Ian Bates, Cambridgeshire County Council’s cabinet member for growth and planning, said:
“This is a really big step forward in building a future community at Northstowe. A lot of hard work has already been carried out with both Gallagher and the Homes and Communities Agency, but this will now continue to make sure the right facilities are in place for everyone. More transport facilities to complement the guided busway will be needed for when residents move in as these are vital to improving health, reducing congestion and boosting the local economy.”
Builder Willmot Dixon has finally got the green light to start of the regeneration of Keynsham town centre, near Bristol.
Bath and North East Somerset Council was forced to postpone the August start of the project earlier this year after criticism from some local people, and the town’s civic society about the designs .
Now after several design variations to the roofs and cladding, the council planning committee has approved the scheme.
The project involves the £36m redevelopment of the existing council offices site in Keynsham with new shops, a library and new council offices.
The buildings have already been stripped for demolition and the scheme, while the planning wrangle was being sorted out.
The project will allow the council to reduce the amount of office space it uses from 12 building to four and become more financially efficient.
Reduced running costs will deliver 10% annual savings that will benefit the local taxpayer public purse. The Council carbon footprint specifically in its buildings will reduce by up to 70%.
Listen to Philip Sugarman, our CEO, being interviewed on BBC Radio Northampton.
The award-winning St Andrew’s Healthcare, which is the UK’s largest mental health charity, has confirmed it now has the funding package in place to enable a further major investment in brand new facilities at its Northampton base.
St Andrew’s, the largest charity sector provider of NHS care, has agreed a £52.5m funding package with Lloyds TSB, to include funding the construction of a new 90-bed psychiatric hospital. The new facility will provide secure accommodation for a number of new services and will allow expansion of its existing national services.
Professor Philip Sugarman Chief Executive Officer at St Andrew’s said “In the last ten years we have completed a £200m programme of development and refurbishment across four sites, with our new units achieving high levels of occupancy. We have seen continuous growth and a recent sharp rise in market share.”
“We are now ready to plan the next phase of growth, with new facilities for service users placed with us by our NHS customers. These developments will strengthen our position as the UK’s leading provider of specialist secure care and as the country’s only independent national teaching hospital.”
Chief Finance Officer Nigel Alcock says: “Despite challenging financial forecasts for independent mental healthcare providers, St Andrew’s saw turnover increase by over 5% last year, to £169m. As a charity it is essential that any financial agreements we enter into are right for our long-term commitment to care for as many people as possible. We are in a very different position to some private companies, and that’s why we believe that the charitable model offers huge potential for the sector.
“This funding agreement will help St Andrew’s maintain the great results we have achieved by reinvesting in the future of mental healthcare over the last few years. We are delighted to have finalised the deal with Lloyds, who have been fantastic to work with.”
David Hykin, Relationship Director at Lloyds Bank Wholesale Banking & Markets said: “St Andrew’s Healthcare has delivered a strong track record of growth in recent years, demonstrating the strength of its balance sheet and its future potential. We are working closely with the management team to support the growth ambitions of the charity, which is a well-established and impressive enterprise in the healthcare sector.”
Stockport Council and Muse Developments have signed and sealed a Development Agreement, marking an important milestone in the development of a high-specification office quarter, next to the train station in the town centre.
The Council bought the site – known as Grand Central – last year to bring forward the office-led development, including hotel and improved car parking, as well as an attractive new gateway to the town centre. National development and regeneration specialist Muse Developments wasappointed by the Council as development partner to deliver the project.
Phase One consists of a new 1,000 space multi-story car park and a range of highway improvements, due to be completed at the beginning of 2014. The new car park will meet increasing demand for parking next to the railway station and encourage more people to take the train. A temporary parking solution for commuters will be provided during its construction.
Phase Two has been masterplanned to deliver the first commercial office building, new public space, a hotel and highway improvements by 2015. Phase Three will include further office buildings, extension of the open space and further improved accessibility for pedestrians, and will be delivered on a phased basis up to 2020.
Councillor Iain Roberts, executive member for economic development and regeneration at Stockport Council, said: “The signing of the Development Agreement confirms both parties’ commitment to delivering a cutting-edge new office quarter and commuter destination for Stockport. It is a crucial part of our overall vision for the town centre – attracting jobs, investment and footfall. We’ve worked hard to make sure that it’s self-financing and at no extra cost to the Council-tax payer.”
Matt Crompton, joint managing director ofMuse Developments said: “Today marks an important milestone in the transformation of this key gateway to Stockport town centre. We can now look forward to working with our partners at the Council to build on Stockport’s commercial appeal to deliver this stunning new office quarter.”
Kier Supplier Day– Sign Up
Construction workers from Merseyside and West Lancashire, are being invited to meet prospective client Kier Construction at a Constructionline ‘Meet the Buyer’ event on Wednesday 24th October 2012. Kier’s Construction division have secured the contract to deliver a joint Command and Control Centre for Mersey Fire and Rescue Services and Merseyside Police
Date: 24th October 2012
Time: 8:30am and 1:30pm.
Venue: Merseyside Fire & Rescue Services HQ, Bridle Road, Bootle, L30 1NY
The event, being held at Mersey Fire & Rescue Services HQ, will see small and medium sized construction companies meet face to face with Kier Construction to discuss working on this project. Kier is looking to build a local supply chain of contractors.
Please note this work is being carried out as part of the North West Construction Hub and as part of Kier’s commitment to the Construction Hub payments terms to all subcontractors have been set at 35 days, to ease the cash flow pressures on SME’s.
The works are due for completion in early 2014 with an overall projected contract value of £6M and will cover the following:
By attending our event, you will have the opportunity to Meet face to face with Kier Construction Key personnel and find out about our upcoming opportunity
The University of Bath has awarded a £16m contract to VINCI Construction UK for the design and construction of a new, five-storey teaching building.
The General Teaching Accommodation (GTA) will include a range of high quality learning facilities, including group lecture rooms, two 350-space lectures theatres, and social spaces.
Glass walls spanning three storeys will provide high levels of natural light into a five-storey high circulation space. A ‘skywalk’ bridge will also connect the building with the main campus parade.
Once completed, the 8,000m2 building will double the number of large scale lecture theatres on campus, allowing up to 2,000 students to use the building at any one time.
The contract is part of the University Masterplan which provides a framework for the development of the campus until 2026.
Martyn Whalley, University of Bath’s Director of Estates, said: “The Masterplan sets out how we plan to provide state of the art facilities and with the new GTA we will have a wonderful resource to match the high quality of our teaching and learning.”
Steve Vorres, Regional Director, VINCI Construction UK, said: “We are delighted to have been appointed by the University of Bath to deliver the new GTA building which forms part of the University’s three year major capital works investment programme. This scheme will provide an exemplar teaching facility for the University’s staff and growing student population and we are extremely proud to be part of its construction and legacy. The GTA project award continues the region’s recent successes of working with University clients. These relationships form an essential part of our key account strategy and stand us in good stead for our future pipeline”.
Completion is due in September 2013 with an opening date set for the following October. The project aims to further enhance the reputation of the university, which already boasts a top ten ranking in The Guardian’s 2013 university guide.
Contractors are being invited to tender for a framework to revamp police stations and buildings across London and the Home Counties worth up to £220m.
An OJEU notice has been published for the three-year deal which will see up to 12 contractors win a place to work for the Mayors’ Office for Policing and Crime.
The framework will be split into two lots – general works and M&E works.
Contracts will be awarded across Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire, Kent, Essex, Surrey, Thames Valley and the Transport for London region.
Firms should register their interest by November 26 with Mayors’ Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) c/o Metropolitan Police Service Property, 11th Floor, Empress State, Empress Approach, Lillie Road, West Brompton Mr Richard Davies Mr Richard Davies SW6 1TR London UNITED KINGDOM +44 2071611503 firstname.lastname@example.org
HOLLYWOOD film giant Paramount has unveiled £2 billion proposals to build one of Europe’s largest theme parks in Swanscombe.
Planning to create 27,000 jobs, the 872-acre development planned for the Swanscombe Peninsula is bigger than the Olympic Park.
At the core of the development will be a Paramount-branded entertainment resort, boasting attractions including Europe’s largest indoor water park.
Theatres, live music venues, cinemas, restaurants and hotels are also planned to open in just six years time on the currently derelict brownfield site.
Top-secret talks have been held almost daily between developer London Resort Company Holdings (LRCH) and Dartford and Gravesham Councils during the past year.
Gravesham Council leader Councillor John Burden said: “This scheme is as imaginative as it is vast.
“It has the potential to re-energise the entire north Kent economy, wipe out unemployment at a stroke and resolve the long-standing regeneration issues surrounding this peninsula.
“It’s a landmark announcement which could transform the area at super-heroic speed.”
A new country park, the biggest performing arts centre in Europe and apartments for the site’s employees are also in the pipeline.
The developer says a study suggests the huge attraction will draw in thousands of tourists to the north Kent area annually, adding significantly to the economy.
LRCH project leader Tony Sefton said: “Our vision is to create a world class entertainment destination, the first of its kind in the UK.
“We’re at the start of a long journey, but have been encouraged by the support and buy-in we have had to date.
“We are particularly pleased with the appetite we are seeing from investors, who consider this a compelling investment proposition.”
Ebbsfleet International station is at the core of access plans for the site, while the M25, M20 and A20 will provide road access.
Source This Is London
Assessors, installers and providers of Green Deal services will face no fees for registration or oversight during the scheme’s first two years, the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has announced.
The DECC is going to fund all costs associated with the registration and oversight service in order to help those participating in the scheme, with the intention of moving to a fee-based approach from year three onwards, when the Green Deal has become established.
Speaking at Wolseley, UK’s Plumb Centre Green Deal open day in Leamington Spa, Energy and Climate Change Minister, Greg Barker welcomed the announcement of “no registration fees” which will encourage participation in the scheme and give businesses the confidence they need.
Mr Barker said: “No registration fees for the first two years will remove burdensome admin costs at a time when many can least afford them, helping encourage organisations to get on-board and offering more freedom of choice for consumers.”
The announcement follows the appointment of a multi-service provider Gemserv to run the new Green Deal oversight body which will be responsible for the registration of assessors, installers and providers, the DECC confirmed today.
Commenting on the recent appointment the Energy Minister said: “We need to make sure all the Green Deal assessors, installers and providers get our stamp of approval to ensure the highest level of consumer protection for householders and businesses under this scheme. I am delighted that Gemserv has risen to the challenge and is going to take on this very important role.”
Do you welcome the announcement of “no fees” for installers and Green Deal providers? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment here or raising your voice on our Facebook page.
As part of the Green Deal, the Government has set out a new legislation which will help the energy industry enhance customer protection and improve energy efficiency in the UK, the Department of Energy and Climate Change revealed this week.
The rising cost of gas and electricity as well as millions of energy inefficient homes across the UK have urged the Government to bring the second phase of the Green Deal into operation, boosting the low carbon economy and supporting up to 60, 000 jobs in the insulation industry.
An additional investment of £1.3 billion a year to develop heating measures across the UK is expected to be announced by Energy and Climate Change Secretary, Edward Davey, later this week.
Commenting on the new legislation Mr Davey said: “I am determined to make sure that, in addition to creating huge opportunities for Green Deal providers and businesses along with thousands of new jobs, this new market in energy efficiency will deliver the very best deal for consumers.”
He explained that the new legislation will allow the energy industry to implement the Green Deal and improve energy efficiency, making sure that the most vulnerable homes are benefiting from the scheme.
The Energy and Climate Change Secretary said: “We have listened very carefully to what industry, consumer groups, and other organisations have told us. Broad support for a managed, tested and careful introduction of the Green Deal fits exactly with our objective to provide an excellent customer experience from day one and a market where a range of new players can readily participate.”
What is your reaction to the new legislation of the Green Dean that will improve energy efficiency and boost employment across the UK? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment here or raising your voice on our Facebook page.
Prime Minister David Cameron and Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg agreed last week a major partnership between the UK and Norway that will boost energy activities between the two countries and bring investment of millions of pounds that will create thousands of new jobs, the Department of Energy and Climate Change revealed.
The partnership between Norway and the UK is designed to secure sustainable long-term energy supplies, improve a wide range of energy activities between the two countries and encourage economic growth.
Prime Minister Cameron, who attended a breakfast meeting with ten leading energy companies from Norway and the UK, highlighted the importance of this partnership for closer collaboration between the two countries that will improve energy security and help economic growth.
Mr Cameron said: “The jobs and investments announced today highlight how vital the strong relationship between Norway and the United Kingdom is for our energy security and economic growth. We look forward to strengthening our partnership further, driving investment into a diverse, sustainable energy mix that delivers affordable long term supplies for consumers.”
Charles Hendry, UK Minister of State for Energy, said: “For many decades Norway has been one of our most trusted and valuable partners, working with us to develop North Sea resources that underpin our energy security. Mr Hendry added: “The investments and jobs announced today by British and Norwegian companies are a clear signal of the benefits of this partnership.”
- “Norwegian global oil services firm Aker Solutions will create 1,300 new highly skilled jobs by 2015 at its engineering hub in Chiswick. This comes on top of 1,000 new jobs it has already created in the UK over the past two years.
- Statoil intends to invest a further £12 billion over the lifetime of the UK’s Mariner-Bressay North Sea oil fields in addition to the £6 billion they have already announced. This will lead to the creation of up to 300 new jobs in the UK in the next few years, including at a new operations base in Aberdeen, in addition to 700 UK jobs from this investment that have already been announced.
- A new Memorandum of Understanding has been agreed between Statoil and Centrica to continue cooperation on gas supply and exploration. This builds on the £13 billion, ten year gas supply deal agreed between the two companies last November and follows the recent completion of a £1billion asset deal between the two companies that will increase Centrica’s oil and gas reserves by 29 percent.
- The Forewind Consortium, which includes Norwegian companies Statoil and Statkraft, has confirmed its intention to develop the 9GW Dogger Bank offshore wind project off the East coast of Yorkshire, which could require up to £30 billion of investment. This project could provide more than 10% of the UK’s electricity needs. In addition to this project Statoil and Statkraft are investing around £1billion in developing the Sheringham Shoal offshore wind farm off the coast of Norfolk, which is already generating power and will be completed later this year. It will provide power to more than 200,000 UK homes when fully operational. The project employs 500 workers in the field and provides significant secondary employment.
- Good progress is being made in two projects to build one of the world’s longest subsea electricity interconnectors between the UK and Norway, which will enable the UK and Norway to share renewable energy resources, with each project worth over £1 billion: NSN (National Grid and Statnett) and NorthConnect (SSE, Vattenfall, Agder Energei, E-CO and Lyse).
- A deal between Shell and Gassco to strengthen UK energy security by providing British customers with more gas from Norway. By making better use of spare capacity in the UK gas transport system, Norwegian gas owners and transporters, including Shell, will be able to transport more gas from Norwegian fields via the Tampen Link to the FLAGS pipeline into St Fergus.”
Today the Office of National Statistics has released a new report showing the growth of new construction orders in the UK, in the first quarter of 2012, there saw a 4.6% increase from the fourth quarter of 2011. The ONS also reported today that new orders in infrastructure rocketed by 60 per cent in the first quarter of 2012 compared with the same period last year.
According to Nick Hayward, managing director of ATL (Apprenticeships Training Limited – the fulfillment centres for T4TS) one of the UK’s leading providers of building services training, with more than 5,000 students a year passing through its centres, it’s very positive news, demonstrating the opportunities for the school leavers and adults looking for a new career path in construction: “There has never been a greater time to join the industry. We know there is a growing shortage for dedicated skilled tradesmen as more and more workers reach retirement age. Couple this with the news of growth in both private industrial and private commercial work and it just goes to show the industry is still thriving.
“This new statistical evidence information from the ONS clearly highlights the growing opportunities in the construction sector, contradicting the Markit/CIPS Construction Purchasing Managers_ Index issued earlier this week, which indicated that British construction hit a three-month low last month. Our experience working with hundreds of apprentices only serves to support the ONS findings further, with ATL students who have entered the sector from school and those moving to construction as a career change demonstrating the popularity of this sector and the real job opportunities that are available. The construction sector will only continue to grow as new buildings and infrastructure increase in demand as the UK pulls out of recession.”
Diageo, the world’s leading premium drinks business, has unveiled plans to invest over £1billion in Scotch whisky production over the next five years to meet growing global demand for its brands.
A major new malt distillery will be built as part of the investment, alongside a programme of major expansion at a number of Diageo’s existing distilleries. Detailed plans will also be developed for a second new distillery which will be built if global demand for Scotch is sustained at expected levels.
The company also plans to invest in substantial new warehousing capacity to house the millions of additional litres of Scotch whisky which the distillation investment will produce.
Announcing the investment Diageo Chief Executive, Paul Walsh said: “This is a pivotal moment in the development of the Scotch whisky category for Diageo. Over recent years our brands have achieved remarkable, sustained global growth. Scotch whisky is Scotland’s most celebrated manufactured export, led by brands like Johnnie Walker, resonating with consumers from Boston to Beijing.
“We expect that success to continue, particularly in the high growth markets around the world, which is why we are announcing this major investment in Scotch whisky production, committing over £1billion in the next five years, to seize that opportunity for global growth. This builds on the foundations we have already laid down over recent years through sustained investment in both production assets and in maturing Scotch inventories.
“Scotch whisky is a significant manufacturing export industry in the United Kingdom, driving domestic investment and job creation through our success in exporting to high growth markets around the world. We look forward to working with both the UK and Scottish Governments to realise the full potential of our investment plan, and to continue growing global Scotch exports.”
Across Scotland the investment will create over a hundred new Diageo jobs, largely high value jobs in rural areas of Scotland. It is also expected the investment will create an average of 250 construction jobs for each year of the investment period and in wider Scottish economy there will be a knock on effect which will generate around 500i further jobs. Diageo also intends to make its contribution to efforts to tackle youth unemployment by taking on around one hundred apprentices and graduate trainees over the term of the investment, and the company will also encourage its suppliers and construction contractors to focus on youth job creation and apprenticeships.
The investment programme will be underpinned by Diageo’s commitment to reduce its environmental impact, with a programme of bio energy solutions planned to be implemented over the same timescale as the distillery expansion projects.
Mr Walsh added: “I’m particularly pleased our investment will generate significant numbers of new Diageo jobs, as well as boosting the local construction sector and stimulating job creation throughout the Scottish economy. We are determined to use this investment to make a contribution towards helping people into training and work through our apprentice and graduate placement scheme and by using the opportunity to encourage suppliers to take on apprentices to work on the investment projects.”
In the last five years Diageo has reported 50% growth in net sales of its Scotch brandsii with total net sales approaching £3billion this financial year. Scotch represented 23% of Diageo’s volume, 27% of net sales and a third of gross profit in the financial year 2011iii. In the first half of financial year 2012, Diageo’s Scotch category saw 8% volume growth and 14% net sales growthiv.
Over the five year period Diageo plans to invest over £500 million in the construction of the distillation and warehousing capacity. This increased production capacity also requires Diageo to commit £500million in working capital for the maturing spirit which will be laid down over the next five years. The exact total investment figures may vary over time depending on the progress of specific projects, but the overall commitment is expected to total over £1billion over the five years.
Supporting this investment, Diageo also plans to commit £5 million over five years towards community initiatives as part of its sustainability and responsibility programme in Scotland. Priority areas for the community investment programme will be: leadership in the environment; responsible drinking – improving the night economy and safety at local level; and socio-economic development, including youth employment and entrepreneurship. This will involve an integrated approach across Diageo’s production, commercial and brands heritage businesses, including The Gleneagles Hotel, host to the Ryder Cup 2014. Full details of this programme will be announced in due course.
Today many media outlets have chosen to cast doubts about the construction industry due to a report by Markit/CIPS. You can judge for yourself what the report actually says by clicking on the link below. However, to save you the trouble, here are some key quotes from the report:
“Construction firms indicated that commercial output remained the fastest growing broad area of activity in May. The slowest expansion was seen in residential”.
“Companies that saw an increase in new business inflows mostly commented on competitive pricing strategies at their units.”
“However, construction firms added to their payrolls numbers for the third month running, driven by ongoing growth in business activity during May.”
“Input buying continued to rise during the latest survey period but, in line with the trend for new work,”
Tim Moore, Senior Economist at Markit said:“On a more positive note, the fall in inflation is allowing construction companies to price more competitively to win new contracts, but could be a double-edged sword as suppliers continue to see their margins squeezed.”
It makes one wonder what it takes to generate a positive headline in 2012?
Tell us your views here or on FaceBook
Guest contributor Rick Dawson.
Housebuilder Persimmon Homes has revealed a £800 million investment plan to build 5,000 new homes across Wales that could create and support 10,000 jobs in the supply chain according to government estimates.
The announcement comes immediately after the company’s newly appointed Managing Director for Wales, Glyn Mabey, showed a sheer determination and strong commitment to head up the £800 million plan to build thousands of new homes in Wales.
The significant investment is expected to boost the building construction industry, create new jobs and provide employment for people in the trades. Mr Mabey believes that building new homes needs to be taken seriously by politicians and local government.
He said: “Aside from providing homes for a great number of people, which is important in its own right, we create a huge number of jobs on site and through our supply chain. The more we do the more jobs we create. It really is that simple”
Following the appointment of Mr Mabey, who will also be responsible for the Charles Church and Westbury Partnership brands in Wales, Persimmon is planning to open a new head office for the West Wales region, making an additional investment around the Swansea area that will benefit communities and boost the local economy.
Mr Mabey believes this additional expansion to company’s already strong presence in East Wales will continue to grow, becoming part of the fabric of the communities in which the company operates.
Mr Mabey said: “Having covered both England and Wales in my career I remember a time when Welsh Local Authorities and politicians were hugely proactive, creative and welcomed development with open arms, recognising the wider economic benefits it brought and the wealth creation generated by the economic activity. “
“We need to get back to that and Politicians and Officers need to show leadership and bravery to kick down hurdles preventing development from happening, rather than constantly allowing new layers of regulation and bureaucracy which slows everything down.” added Mr Mabey.
What is your reaction to the £800 million investment plan to build 5,000 new homes in Wales? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment here or raising your voice on our Facebook page.
Councils across England will receive a multi-million cash boost to bring thousands of empty homes back into use, creating further employment for trade professionals and boosting the housing market.
Communities Minister Andrew Stunell announced yesterday a further £60 million investment to tackle clusters of empty homes in England. Additional £25 million will be allocated to voluntary and community groups across the country to tackle individual empty properties in their area.
Mr Stunell said: “The number of empty homes in this country is a national disgrace – for every two families that need a home there is one standing empty. Empty homes bring down a neighbourhood and attract vandals and fly-tipping, as well as being a waste of much needed housing.”
Although, the number of empty homes has fallen to the lowest level since 2004, the Liberal Democrat Minister believes that there is still a lot to be done to bring more empty houses back into use.
He said: “I’m delighted to announce this funding boost today that will allow councils and community groups to bring these houses back to life and offer families a chance of a stable and secure home.
“We need to do much more to tackle this problem. This Government is breathing life back into these neglected neighbourhoods.”
Previous announcements have seen £70 million allocated to bring empty homes back into use as part of the affordable housing programme. According to the Department for Communities and Local Government, this announcement brings a total investment of £215 million to renovate thousands of properties and bring them back into use.
Do you think the Government could do more to bring empty houses back into life? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment here or raising your voice on our Facebook page.
The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has urged the government to boost economic growth by giving a greater emphasis on infrastructure projects in the UK.
In a new report published today, the CBI has recommended to the Treasury to enhance the credit rating of government construction schemes and raise public funds that will secure private business investment, unlocking billions of pounds to the UK economy.
According to the CBI Director-General, John Cridland, infrastructure investment will offer the UK a sustainable growth development that businesses need.
Mr Cridland said: “As this report makes clear, if we want to see the billions of pounds needed to upgrade our ageing infrastructure and secure jobs and growth for the long-term, the Government must make smarter use of limited public finances. By underpinning and lifting the credit rating of certain infrastructure assets, it can make them less risky and more attractive to investors.
The CBI says that harnessing just a 1 per cent increase from the UK’s pension fund will give a ‘vital boost’ to the UK’s underfunded infrastructure networks and make them more attractive to investors.
Do you welcome the recent report by the CBI that urges the government to make significant improvements to infrastructure schemes in the UK? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below or adding your voice on our Facebook Page:
The London Borough of Enfield has launched a consultation on the Masterplan for Meridian Water that could see 5,000 new homes build and create 3,000 new jobs.
The new development, which has the potential to become one of the largest eco-developments in Britain, has been designed to create new opportunities for canal and riverside homes in North London.
The £1.3 billion development will pave the way for building construction work, creating new jobs for trade professionals in the building construction industry.
Enfield Council has launched a public consultation on the 82 hectares site in Edmonton, currently occupied by a former industrial building, Construction News Reported today.
The council is looking for public input about the project and the consultation will run until the beginning of August 2012, seeking the opinions of investors, stakeholders, residents and local businesses. The Council said it was planning to work closely with potential developers in order to share the future vision of the area.
The current proposals aim to set ambitious targets for sustainability, including plans for a comprehensive district heating network. Meridian Water will also deliver improvements to public transport including improved rail services on the line connecting the area to Liverpool Street and Stratford.
The Local Authority member for Business and Regeneration, Councillor Del Goddard said: “Meridian Water is the most significant contribution to the transformation of Edmonton and it will play a significant role in driving the expansion of north London for decades to come.”
Under the masterplan written by the London Development Agency (LDA) the projects will be a significant boost for the local economy and diverse sectors of employment.
The LDA Design’s director of urban design Colin James said: “This masterplan is the first step towards bringing forward Enfield council’s vision for creating new high quality, energy efficient housing and breathing new life into employment areas. ”
What is your view of the Meridian Water Masterplan that could build 5,000 new homes and create 3,000 new jobs? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment here or on our Facebook page:
The four major associations representing UK’s solar industry have joined together to support consumers and set the record straight about the current status of domestic solar power and the Feed-in Tariff, the Renewable Energy Association revealed today.
British Photovoltaic Association (BPVA), the Micropower Council (MPC), the Renewable Energy Association (REA) and the Solar Trade Association (STA) are concerned that public opinion about renewable energy has been distorted by headlines such as “drastic cuts,” “illegal consultation,” or “huge job losses”, which do not reflect the actual reality on the ground as they obscure the truth about the renewable sector.
Industry representatives outlined the drastically falling cost in solar PV, ,making it a desirable investment to those who want to avoid increasingly rising energy bills and help tackling climate change.
Mainstream analysts expect solar power to be cheaper than buying electricity off the grid before the end of the decade. Costs in PV have fallen more rapidly in the past 12 months than any other energy technology, allowing consumers to save money in the future.
The association forecasts that solar industry has a bright future in the UK; it is exciting and becoming more popular. Industry experts think that tariffs will reduce over time in line with these significant cost reductions which will contribute for the creation of new jobs in the renewable sector.
Chairman of the British Photovoltaic Association commented that solar PV can offer clean, affordable and secure energy that people of the UK need.
You can find further information about the solar PV and read the full comments by the four major associations from here:
The UK’s Green Business Building Council (UK-GBC) has urged the government to show renewed leadership on green issues which will create more jobs and encourage economic growth.
Appropriate government intervention in energy schemes, more incentives for the development of green infrastructure and strong support for businesses across Britain should be the key priorities for the government to get Britain’s economy back on track, according to the Chief Executive of UK-GBC, Paul King.
The CEO thinks that despite the current economic difficulties in the construction industry, the government could do more to help economic recovery by making sustainable investment into the green economy.
He said: “The construction sector is suffering at the moment but it could play a key role in getting the UK’s economy back on track – with energy efficiency and green infrastructure central to economic recovery. Unfortunately, deregulation is not a miracle cure – in fact we probably need greater intervention from Government – for example bringing in incentives like reduced Stamp Duty to encourage households to take up the Green Deal, and helping the commercial sector cut energy use.”
Responding to the Queen’s Speech to Parliament, Mr King said: “We really need to see the Energy Bill announced today provide a vehicle for the long-awaited roll-out of Display Energy Certificates, which would help UK businesses save money.”
Do you think the government could do more to help the growth of Britain’s economy? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below:
Proposals for a £50 million hotel scheme to be built in Southampton have been given the green light by planning officials in Southampton City Council. The new development, which will include a luxury hotel with a restaurant and a rooftop bar, is likely to boost the building construction sector and create new jobs in the city, Career Structure News has reported.
Development plans submitted by MDL Marinas include the building of 82 flats, a variety of shops and restaurants as well as office space to let. Tenders for building construction work are expected to be announced within weeks, as work is expected to begin this autumn.
Managing Director at MDL Marinas, Eamonn Feeney, said: “We are delighted with today’s decision which will enable us to deliver the final stage of the master plan for Ocean Village Marina, and most importantly create a vibrant waterfront destination for the city.”
Director of Economic Development at Southampton City Council, Dawn Baxendale, welcomed the decision for the major development and said that it will bring a lot of benefits to the city.
Ms Baxendale commented: “This is excellent news for Southampton and I congratulate MDL Marinas for getting their planning approved.
“The scheme demonstrates that serious investors believe Southampton represents their future and is a city that is becoming comparable with the best in Europe.”
Do you welcome the approval of Southampton City Council to give the green light for the £50 million hotel scheme? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below:
Business Green reported today that a new job plan estimated to create 20 million jobs across Europe will boost the renewable sector and make low-carbon industries central to the 27 EU member states.
The proposed job package could create millions of new jobs in Europe’s construction, recycling and renewable industry. The scheme has been launched to deal with high level of unemployment in countries across the European Union and is expected to create long-term job opportunities.
European Commissioner for Climate Action, Connie Hedegaard, welcomed the proposals saying that energy efficiency measures could lead to 2 million jobs in the renewable industry by the end of 2020, Business Green reported.
Commissioner Hedegaard encouraged EU member states to comply with energy-efficiency targets set in the Energy Efficiency Directive which was introduced to improve energy efficiency by helping consumers using energy more efficiently at all stages of the energy chain.
Ms Hedegaard emphasised the importance of the renewable industry for creation of jobs and future economic growth. “If Europe does not step up its green economy efforts, we risk losing an immense source of quality jobs,” she said. “If we water down our efforts on energy efficiency, we water down the job potential as well.”
What is your reaction to the new job plan likely to create millions of jobs in the renewable sector? Are you more optimistic about the future of the renewable sector? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below:
The Building Construction Industry will receive an £80 million boost as the government approves Hinckley’s regeneration scheme which will be a major source of work for contractors and people in the building engineering sector.
The news about the significant redevelopment of Hinckley’s town centre, Leicestershire, comes after 12 years of discussions about the future of the project.
As reported on BBC News today, the regeneration scheme will build 24 new retail and restaurant units, 111,000 square foot Sainsbury’s store and a new bus station.
Hinckley & Bosworth Borough Council welcomed the decision of the government to give the green light for the project which will encourage future economic growth and create new jobs.
Stuart Bray, the leader of Hinckley & Bosworth Borough Council, said: “This is fantastic news for the town and means we shall soon start to see things happening. The exciting new shopping and commercial scheme will give the town centre a further boost, thanks to a superstore, cinema, fashion shops, family restaurants and a major new shoppers’ car park alongside a re-designed bus station. We are now looking forward to working with the developer on the construction programme.”
Although, an exact date wasn’t given for the start of the projects, the two developers behind the scheme, Wilson Bowden Developments and Ashcroft Estates, are to complete construction work in 2014.
Director for the joint venture, Tony Baker, said: “This is a crucial step in securing the delivery of this important project for the future of Hinckley. It will not only improve the retail provision in the town centre but provide much-needed new employment. Whilst there are a number of steps to be completed before work starts on site we are now able to move forward with confidence knowing that the entire site can be delivered.”
What is your reaction to the £80 million regeneration scheme for Hinckley? How beneficial the development is going to be for you and your business? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below:
Plans to increase airport capacity in Britain and build a third runway at London Heathrow are likely to be supported by the government despite environmentalists’ concerns.
Both David Cameron and George Osborne, have reviewed their initial decision to rule out future expansion for a third runway at Heathrow Airport. It will deal with increased trade capacity and high volume of extra passengers –the Guardian reported yesterday.
Business leaders have expressed concerns that if a third runway at London Heathrow is not built, trade might move elsewhere in Europe which could have a negative effect on future economic growth in Britain.
Expansion in some of Britain’s largest airports would create work opportunities for thousands of people in the building construction industry, creating new jobs and boosting civil engineering recruitment.
In the Budget Statement last Wednesday, Chancellor George Osborne, said the government will optimise air capacity. It is expected a report on aviation policy to be published, aiming to help businesses to trade better and make further improvement into airport capacity.
Tim Yeo, the Tory Chairman of the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee, told the Guardian that he had “completely changed” his mind on the Heathrow expansion plans and now believed there was no option but to build a third runway; this will ensure that the south of England will remain a worldwide aviation hub.
The Prime Minister said that he recognises the need for expanding airport capacity in Britain and that the government is looking at ways of helping businesses to make the most of country’s aviation capacity.
Mr Cameron said: “I’m not blind to the need to increase airport capacity, particularly in the South-East” adding, “Gatwick is emerging as a business airport for London under a new owner, competing with Heathrow.”
What is your reaction to the expansion of airport capacity at London Heathrow? Do you think construction work at Britain’s major airports will help your business? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below:
One of the UK’s largest building distributors, SIG, has reported a rise of 3.9% in sales of building materials for the construction industry. The positive news comes as the demand for contractors, builders and construction companies continues to rise due to a return in confidence in the housing market.
Growth figures are considered to be a result of improved trading conditions and recent government investments aiming to boost the building construction sector.
The government made the announcement this week to help up to 100,000 people in England buy their own homes. The recent scheme,‘NewBuy’, will further increase demand for new build homes and unlock the housing market, Prime Minister, David Cameron said on Monday.
SIG’s pre-tax profits reached £81.7 million when the group is planning to open more than 15 new branches in the future. The current housing shortage in the UK is expected to encourage building of more new homes as well as increase employment across the construction sector.
Chief Executive at SIG, Chris Davies, thinks that despite the current uncertainties in the macroeconomic environment the company will continue with its positive performance.
Mr Davies said: “We enter 2012 as a much leaner, stronger and more focused organisation. Sales per day in constant currency so far this year were around 1% ahead of strong prior year comparators, despite the impact of severe weather across mainland Europe in February this year.”
What is your reaction to the improved sales figures of SIG, suggesting that the construction sector is better now off than it used to be a few years ago? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment on Train4TradeSkills’ Facebook and Twitter pages:
The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has committed an investment of £3.5 million to help more tradespeople become qualified as part of the governments’ energy efficiency scheme, the Green Deal.
Trained and skilful professionals are crucial for getting the Green Deal right. The new investment will contribute towards the training of hundreds of assessors, installers and existing trade professionals who will make energy efficient improvements to thousands of homes in the UK.
Energy and Climate Change Secretary, Edward Davey, said the £3.5 million will help hundreds of people to prepare for accurate implementation of the Green Deal and deliver a real success on the ground. The energy efficiency scheme will renovate millions of homes and office buildings across the UK which are currently inefficient, and will create up to 65,000 jobs by 2015.
Mr Davey said: “We have worked hand in hand with industry to get this right and are targeting funding at the areas where there is an urgent need as well as a clear demand. We hope this will encourage businesses across the country to fully prepare their staff for the launch of the Green Deal later this year.”
The announcement comes as Scotland’s first minister, Alex Salmon, approved a £1 billion investment for the wind energy industry. This will create 600 additional jobs in the renewable industry and power nearly half-a million homes across Scotland.
What is your reaction to the new investment by the DECC to meet the demand for energy efficient schemes across the UK? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment on Train4TradeSkills’ Facebook and Twitter pages:
Wandsworth Council has approved plans to build more than 1,800 new homes in Nine Elm, South London. This will pave the way for building construction work, creating new jobs and boosting the local economy.
The 13-acre site will be turned from what was previously a mail sorting office into residential apartments, a new state primary school and a 3.3 acre public park. The scheme is part of a huge regeneration programme aiming to build more affordable homes in London and improve community infrastructure.
The latest approval by Wandsworth Councils brings the total number of homes with planning consent in London to nearly 9,300. Some additional 4,500 homes will be given planning permission in the near future, bringing the total of new homes to nearly 14,000.
Programme Director at Nine Elms, Helen Fisher, welcomed the decision of Wandsworth Council saying that the regeneration programme will make a positive contribution to the local community and improve infrastructure whilst delivering growth and new jobs to the area.
Fisher said: “More than 1,000 homes are under construction in Nine Elms along with brand new offices, shops, a new riverside walk and acres of new park land. The scale of the transformation is truly remarkable and this latest planning approval adds further momentum to our regeneration programme.”
The former Royal Mail site, which lies at the heart of the Nine Elms regeneration zone, will be renovated by architects Allies & Morrison. The redevelopment scheme is an addition to the 250,000 square metres of new commercial and community space previously approved by Wandsworth Council.
Do you welcome major regeneration schemes that build more affordable homes and improve community infrastructure? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment on Train4TradeSkills’ Facebook and Twitter pages:
The business lobby group is advising the government in a new report today, “Minor measures, major results – Fine tuning the major infrastructure planning system”, to make further improvements to large infrastructure projects and ease the pre-application process of planning and construction work for UK businesses.
The CBI is also urging the government to simplify non-planning consents and allow developers to train case workers who will participate and give advice to applicants at pre-application stages prior to construction work.
The CBI believes that measures for improving transparency, encouraging proactivity in case workers and developing the relationship between planners and businesses will help economic growth and return investors’ confidence.
Deputy Director-General at CBI, Dr Neil Bentley, approved the pro-business measures the government has taken in recent years to encourage economic growth, but he said that more decisive action is needed to help major infrastructure projects in Britain.
Mr Bentley said: “Businesses approve of the government’s reforms to our major infrastructure planning system to streamline planning decisions, but it’s vital we don’t lose momentum while these significant changes take hold. Too many applications are still at the initial stages at a time when we need major investment in our infrastructure.
“We’re suggesting ways the government can fine-tune the system to spur on much-needed new infrastructure such as, energy plants, railway lines, airports, roads, ports and waste facilities.
“Investing in major infrastructure projects will bring big rewards for our economy, with new jobs and growth. But investors both at home and abroad must have the confidence that the planning system will deliver timely decisions, so the government needs to act now. Waiting for a much fuller review in 2014 would be a lost opportunity.” – added Mr Bentley.
What is your reaction to the proposed measures by the CBI to improve major infrastructure planning systems? How would that help your business and boost economic growth? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment on Train4TradeSkills’ Facebook and Twitter pages:
A leading energy efficient firm has published a report suggesting that the UK’s manufacturing industry could save as much as £1.4 billion per year by switching to a new lighting technology which will significantly reduce spending on energy costs.
The report, entitled The Light Bulb Moment, is based on a 4-year survey conducted by Vita Energia across 500 manufacturing and industrial firms, each employing over 100 members of staff. Vita Energiaexplores the different methods that UK businesses can use to improve their energy efficiency with minimal investment and help cut carbon emissions.
It has been estimated that by upgrading existing lighting technology, UK manufacturing and industrial businesses could make huge savings which will have a real impact on energy usage in commercial premises across the UK.
The report concludes that addressing the current light efficient systems within the manufacturing sector will provide a timely boost to the UK’s industry operational performance and contribute to economic growth in the future.
Director of Vita Energia, Duncan Stevens, said that the report is a valuable indication for UK business to optimise their performance and make improvements across different manufacturing and industrial sites in the UK.
Speaking to Business Green, Mr Stevens said: “The calculations are very robust, they are based on detailed surveys of lighting technologies and fittings, and energy prices at a variety of locations; the evidence is there that energy efficient lighting systems can save firms a lot of money.
“The technology is now proven and people can see it delivers substantial savings; the focus for businesses has to be on the economic case for these types of deployments.” Mr Stevens added.
What is your reaction to the report by Vita Energia? Do you think you or your business could make savings by adopting more efficient lighting systems? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below:
With the increased funding, the total amount available to firms that are looking to create new jobs will reach £2.4 billion. The scheme is expected to make a significant contribution to the manufacturing and construction industry.
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said the RGF is already having a huge impact on jobs’ creation because businesses across the UK now have the investment which will contribute to their local economy. The Liberal Democrat shared his enthusiasm about using the money for carbon cutting initiatives that will have positive effects on the environment and the renewable sector.
Mr Clegg said: “There have been over 170 successful bids to the fund, leveraging around £7.5 billion of private sector investment and set to create and protect 330,000 jobs. I want to see more businesses that are confident they can create jobs and get Britain building”
“Funding from rounds one and two has gone to some extraordinarily promising manufacturing projects. From Pirelli Tyres in Carlisle who’ll use the money to develop a new range of carbon-cutting tyres; to a Portsmouth based company which hopes to use theirs to create a cutting edge boat building college.
“These projects will lead their communities into brighter times, helping put industry at the heart of the UK’s economy. Businesses have until June to apply for a share of this extra £1 billion.”- Deputy Prime Minister Clegg added.
How would your business benefit from the £1 billion investment of the Regional Growth Fund? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below:
Although the building construction sector remains one of the most stable industries in the UK, the CBI thinks greater investment is needed for infrastructure projects to encourage continual growth and business confidence.
The CBI has proposed a number of measures for the government as an opportunity to provide real boost for private sector investments in infrastructure schemes and give more support to small and medium businesses.
General Director at CBI, John Cridland, explained that the government should use Chancellor’s budget statement next month to deliver significant financial stimulus to make mortgages more affordable to the housing market.
Mr Cridland thinks future growth through reforms of the UK’s tax system is essential for businesses to invest in Britain. He is calling on the government to make some changes into the current system which will create new opportunities for growth.
Mr Cridland highlighted the significance of infrastructure investment as one of the most important priorities which the government needs to support in order to encourage industry’s growth and create permanent jobs.
He said: “Delivering private sector investment in infrastructure, supporting mid-sized businesses, hammering out the details on credit easing, extending the Youth Contract to 16 and 17-year-olds, and introducing the New Build Indemnity Scheme for mortgages at the earliest opportunity will all provide a real boost for UK growth and jobs.”
Do you agree with the CBI that the infrastructure industry is a key factor for economic growth and creating new jobs? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below:
The Prime Minister, David Cameron, has written to 100 Conservative MPs, who recently complained about wind farm subsidies and demanded cuts to the £500 million a year, paid to the wind power industry.
The 100 MPs, who wrote to the Prime Minister last month, expressed concerns that wind farm proposals are not welcomed by local residents and that they might damage the natural landscape of Britain.
The Prime Minister shared a robust defence of the government’s plans to continue with its commitment to support renewable energy projects across the UK. Mr Cameron echoed strong support for wind farm subsidies, describing them as vital investment for the creation of green jobs and reducing carbon emissions.
Mr Cameron said: “On-shore wind plays a role in a balanced UK electricity mix, alongside gas, nuclear, cleaner coal and other forms of renewable energy, a portfolio of different supplies enhances energy security and prevents the UK from becoming over-reliant on gas imports.”
However, Mr Cameron said he sympathised with local residents’ concerns but the national interest of Britain had to be considered in order to fulfil its commitment to meet targets for renewable energy and to cut greenhouse gas emissions.
What is your reaction to the Prime Minister’s support for the renewable industry? Are you more optimistic about the future of wind farms after Cameron’s backing? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below:
With increasingly higher demand for professionals in the renewable sector, the UK’s environmental charity organisation, Global Action Plan and global management consultant Accenture, have launched a two-year collaborative partnership to help young people gain the necessary skills for the emerging green economy.
The scheme will provide green skills development for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds or those who are not currently in education or training, to build their employability skills, offer new opportunities and address the current skills shortage in the green sector.
Funding of £170,000 will be provided to support the green training by 2014; it will help people to find relevant work placements across a number of organisations in the green industry. Some 1,300 young people will benefit from the project.
Environmental groups, policymakers and companies have made the argument that renewable energy should be favoured over sources of non-renewables because it will create green jobs and boost the economy as well as help people tackle climate change.
The government is determined to continue with its commitment to improve energy efficiency in Britain. It has already invested £200 million into renewable energy projects which will help the green sector grow and give confidence to businesses.
Chief Executive of Global Action Plan, Trewin Restorick, said that the collaborative venture has been designed to boost employment and address key issues in the renewable sector.
Mr Restorick said: “As unemployment among 16-24 year olds continues to hit record highs, cross-sector partnerships such as the one between Global Action Plan and Accenture are vital in ensuring young people get into employment and contribute to a better, more sustainable society.”
What is your reaction to this and other initiatives to help the green sector? Do you think the government is doing enough to help the renewables sector? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment on Train4TradeSkills’ Facebook and Twitter pages:
The investment of £330 million for redevelopment of the 750,000 sq. ft. shopping area will create 90 new shops, bars, restaurants and cafes. Building work towards fulfilling the project is expected to boost the economy and create more jobs in Oxford.
Councillor Deputy Leader, Ed Turner, described the decision for the project as “fantastic news for Oxford” in regards to the positive contribution the redevelopment plans would have on the City of Oxford.
Nigel Wild, president of Oxfordshire’s Chamber of Commerce, welcomed the improvements saying that such investment would benefit Oxford with raising more business revenue and higher income.
Mr Wild said: “Shopping in Oxford has been traditionally poor and we need that kind of development in order to attract people to make it a destination city.”
Although, there has been some opposition to the project from environmental groups and some non-government organisations, building work is likely to begin in 2014; this will also include construction work of an underground car park and extension of existing shopping establishments.
Do you welcome the decision of Oxford City Council to approve the £330 million redevelopment of Westgate Shopping Centre? How is the investment going to benefit you or your business? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below:
Unqualified Workers Not Likely to Find Employment – “More employment opportunities for qualified operatives”
One of the largest building companies in the UK, Major Home Builders Group (MHBG), has pledged today to continue with its initiative to only hire qualified workers in order to raise standards and tackle skills shortage in the construction industry.
The initiative between MHBG, one of the twelve largest UK home builders, and Construction Skills has encouraged more people to become professionally qualified in the building construction sector. An increasing number of companies in the building industry have committed to employ only qualified operatives as the very minimum for workers is have a Construction Skills Competency Scheme (CSCS) card.
More than half a million people took their CSCS cards last year. The test, which is required for all construction workers, has been an important factor for raising health and safety standards, as well as helping workers to improve their general quality of work.
Corporate Director at Construction Skills, John Cowley, welcomed the partnership between MHBG and Construction Skills saying that it is vital for the future of the building construction industry to have qualified workforce which is continually raising work standards and promptly complying with industry’s regulation framework.
Mr Cowley said: “We’re delighted that the MHBG has committed to this partnership. It is a major step forward in our drive to qualify the workforce, making our industry world leaders in the skills and training arena.”
As previously reported in the Sector Skills Agreement, the government has encouraged for a closer partnership between industry officials and training providers in order to encourage more workers to feel the benefits of becoming a professionally qualified person.
Managing Director of Redrow, a member of the MHBG group, Neil Fitzsimmons explained that the requirements for all workers, working on their sites, to have an appropriate qualification sends a strong message that the industry wants a qualified workforce, recognising that qualified workers get the job done faster, with fewer mistakes and accidents.
What is your opinion on the importance of being a qualified professional in order to find better employment opportunities? How much more would a qualified operative earn than a non-qualified? Share your experiences by leaving a comment on the Train4TradeSkills’ Facebook and Twitter pages:
Today, Mr Davey has unveiled that he has created a dedicated team within the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) to look at different methods of improving energy efficiency and making it more relevant to people’s everyday life.
Speaking at a meeting with key industry leaders in London today, the Energy Secretary explained that the Green Deal is a vital policy not only for the environment, but also for economic growth and job creation across Britain.
Mr Davey said: “I’m hugely enthusiastic about energy efficiency. It’s the cheapest way of cutting carbon emissions – and cutting bills for consumers. It has to be right at the heart of what we do.”
The dedicated team at the new Energy Efficiency Deployment Office (EEDO) will work in collaboration with other energy departments to communicate the positive implications the scheme is going to have on the environment as well as to the renewable sector.
This year the government will enable homeowners to take a loan to install insulation or other energy-saving measures to help the environment. People will be able to install packages of energy saving technologies such as insulation at no upfront cost with repayments made over time out of the energy savings.
Davey emphasised the importance of the project for the thousands of people who will to benefit from the significant government investment and contribute for greener and more efficient economy.
He said: “The Green Deal will play a huge part in this work and will also support jobs in the insulation and construction industries– as many as 65,000 right across the country by 2015. It can help us deliver a fairer, greener economy. And help us get young people back into work – or into work for the first time.”
What is your reaction on Davey’s commitment to push forward for the Green Deal and improve energy efficiency? Baring in mind the 65,000 people who will be employed as result of the scheme do you share minister’s enthusiasm about new jobs? Let us know by leaving a comment here:
The government has transferred a fund of £3 billion to the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, to build more affordable houses as well as to oversee the long term development of the Olympic Park and the surrounding areas.
The new investment will give greater power and more responsibilities to the Mayor of London’s office. Boris Johnson welcomed the decision of the government which will create thousands of new jobs and boost the building construction sector.
Mr Johnson said: “We are now in a great position to drive forward vital investment that will deliver more affordable homes across the city, secure a lasting legacy in the Olympic Park and create thousands of new jobs.”
Some 55,000 new affordable houses are expected to be built by March 2015 as well as bringing 45,000 existing homes up to standard across London.
The announcement comes as the Communities and Local Government Secretary, Eric Pickles, is preparing to hand over functions from the Homes and Communities Agency’s (HCA) to the capital and the Greater London Authority (GLA).
Mr Pickles said: “The funding will enable the Authority to support the housing programmes it will inherit from the Homes and Communities Agency, the closure of the London Development Agency, and transformation of Olympic Park and legacy, as well as its existing functions.”
Mayor of London, Boris Johnson added that this agreement will enable for greater responsibility in housing schemes across London.
Mr Johnson said: “I will do all I can to grasp the fantastic opportunities this settlement provides and ensure that London becomes an even better place to live, work and invest in.”
What is your reaction on the Government’s investment for more affordable houses in London? Does the £3billion investment mean more employment opportunities for you/your business? Let us know by leaving a comment on the Train4TradeSkills’ Facebook and Twitter pages:
The decision of Camden Council to expand its list of maintenance and repair contractors will offer more opportunities to existing and new professionals in the building sector. The repair framework of Camden Council is expected to be worth around £14 million each year, meaning a significant incentive for a variety of firms in the building sector.
The Council’s current in-house contractor, DLO, has been working for sustainable development across some of its 33,000 housing stock; the additionally appointed contractor would work alongside council’s existing contractor which will carry out a separate £11m programme of housing work.
Camden Council will expect both, its current and newly joining contractors, to be working together in order to improve working systems and optimise existing procedures. The Council’s new maintenance contract will start in January 2013 initially for 5 years with the potential of the scheme to be extended by another 5 years.
Do you welcome the decision of Camden Council to put half of its housing repairs for an external contractor? What are your expectations of finding employment following Council’s decision? Share your thoughts by commenting on the Train4TradeSkills’ Facebook and Twitter pages:
The energy company has submitted plans for a £35 million solar project on a 150-acre site near Loughborough, Leicestershire, the BBC has reported. The project would be the biggest solar farm in the UK to be built, meaning more contracts for the renewable energy sector and new jobs to be created.
Lark’s managing director, Jonathan Selwyn, said construction work could take place later this year if Charnwood Borough Council approved the project. Local residents have welcomed the proposal, expressing enthusiasm as it will generate electricity from renewable sources and will help the environment.
Mr Selwyn said the farm will not take long to build, a maximum of 5 months, it will convert daylight into electricity which would then be sold to a power company and distributed through the national grid.
He said: “This will be 25 to 30 megawatts so it will be quite big but it will not be intrusive. There will not be reflection because the panels are designed to absorb the light rather than reflect it.”
Mr Selwyn explained that there are no real on-going costs for maintaining the solar panels whilst there are many benefits for the environment to obtain energy from daylight.
“Daylight is free, easily accessible and it is unlimited unlike fuels like gas and coal which will become increasingly scarce and, therefore, more expensive.”- Mr Selwyn added.
Charnwood borough councillor Jenny Bokor told the Leicester Mercury that she welcomed the proposed investment of £35 million. It would generate environmentally friendly energy for the needs of local residents and people across Leicestershire.
Ms Bokor said: “I think this is a really good idea. There are 1,500 homes in all the Wolds villages and this could more than meet their needs.
“I am sure there will be some people who will object but I am in favour of making use of the land to create energy.”
Chairman of Wymeswold Parish Council, Nick Shaw, said the project is a very good idea because it will not make any noise or create pollution.
What is your opinion about installing more solar panels in the UK? Why do you think renewable energy is becoming increasingly popular? Does it mean better employment opportunities for you? Let us know what you are thinking on the Train4TradeSkills’ Facebook and Twitter pages:
You can listen to Benard’s Interview from Train4TradeSkills Radio via AudioBoo at: www.audioboo.fm/train4tradeskills
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The survey conducted by the purchasing managers’ index (PMI) has shown a sharp increase in output, a rise in new orders and a fall in cost faced by the manufacturing and civil engineering sector.
The Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply (CIPS) reported companies have seen indications that customers are increasingly willing to spend.
Chief executive at CIPS, David Noble, welcomed the statistics saying they are good news for the manufacturing sector. However, Mr Noble mentioned that more time will be needed for the manufacturing industry to establish whether growth is sustainable.
He told the BBC: “The UK manufacturing sector has sprung to life in the first month of 2012 to defy any economic gloom, but it is too early to say whether this trend is sustainable.”
Meanwhile, the UK’s leading infrastructure contractors have urged the government to continue with delivering recently announced investments for improving infrastructure and boosting businesses across the UK.
The government has previously said in its Autumn Statement for 2012 that a key priority for growth will be the Building and Construction Industry –with recent investment of over £5 billion to improve contractors’ order books for years ahead.
Do you think the good performance of the Civil Engineering and Manufacturing sector is a result of the huge investment by the UK government to stimulate future growth? Share your thoughts with us on Facebook or just by leaving a comment below:
It has been announced today that people in England and Wales will have no choice but to pay an increase of 5.7% on their annual water bills. We look at the different ways of how people could compensate that increase by making savings from their electricity bill during chilliest months of the year.
Consumers in the UK will pay more for their water bills during 2012/13, meaning an average annual bill of £376 throughout the UK, an increase of £20 per household, the water regulator Ofwat has announced.
People don’t have much choice but to pay the increase. However, as the weather turns chillier, people can consider different ways that could make savings of their electricity bill.
As the weather gets chillier, it’s tempting to warm up a room with a heater, but with concerns over energy bills people are always better checking what would work best for their needs. Not all oil filled radiators or halogen heaters consume the same amount of electricity and produce the same amount of thermal heat.
We look at some of the most conventional types of heaters, explaining their pros and cons.
- Convection heaters – best suited for heating enclosed spaces. They operate silently and have a lower fire risk hazard.
- Fan heaters – a good choice for quick heating of enclosed spaces. However, there is a risk of ignition if they are near furnishings and curtains.
- Electric fires (radiative heaters) – these directly warm people and objects in the room, so may be good for warming cold feet, but can be a fire hazard.
- Halogen heaters – the advantage of these is that they radiate, the heat generated, which is absorbed directly by us, without heating the air first. This makes them suitable for warming people in poorly insulated rooms. Halogen heaters convert up to 86% of their input power to radiant energy.
- Oil-filled heaters – these can take longer to heat up, but retain the heat better, similar to storage heaters, and provide heat from all sides.
Ross Lammas from SUST-IT, a leading website providing practical advice on energy efficiency, said: “The best way to keep your bills down is to keep heat in and drafts out by insulating; low cost solutions such as lined curtains, draft excluders and thermal blinds will help.”
Do you know any other methods you could save from your electricity bill? Do you think a good insulation could be a permanent solution for better savings? Share your thoughts by commenting below:
The new £340 million headquarters of UBS in London’s financial district is expected to be completed by 2014, meaning it could create more jobs for people in the building construction sector.
The Swiss bank has signed a pre-letting agreement with developers British Land and Blackstone for the construction work to start in April this year. Demolition and site preparation work near Liverpool Street station is currently underway, leading publication, Construction Enquirer, reported today.
UBS is the largest tenant in the 30-acre Broadgate development in London’s City financial district which will include four trading floors that can be adapted into normal office space.
The new building will pay attention to sustainability using photovoltaics and solar thermal panels to generate green energy while rainwater harvesting will reduce water consumption.
British Land said: “Demolition of the existing 4 & 6 Broadgate buildings is well underway and will be completed in April; with delivery of the new bespoke building on schedule for the first quarter in 2014.
“The joint venture has already placed or tendered around 60% of the project’s construction costs within budget and programme.”
Tim Roberts, Head of Offices for British Land, told Construction Enquirer: “This is another significant milestone in the development of the new UBS building at 5 Broadgate and a real boost for the City.
“The Broadgate estate continues to evolve to serve the needs of a range of city occupiers and the 30,000 people based there.” – Mr Roberts added.
The two developers, British Land and Blackstone, said UBS will occupy the new building for period of around 18 years.
Do you welcome the move of the Swiss bank giant UBS to build its headquarters in London? What does the £340 million investment mean for the building construction sector? Share your thoughts with us by leaving a comment below:
Prompt and successful completion of the building construction work for the Olympic Games in London this summer could be a chance for UK firms to get work all over the world – a leading publication in the trades, Construction Enquirer, reported today.
One of the UK’s leading International Consultants, McBains Cooper, has urged the Government’s trade teams to introduce more building contracts from abroad for the building construction industry in Britain.
McBains Cooper state that London 2012 is an excellent example of how a major project should be built and UK firms should use their management expertise to export their skills and knowledge to make major projects worldwide equally as impressive.
The successful construction of the Olympic venues triggers a world-wide interest for many countries which will host similar events in the future. The building of venues for the Olympics in London 2012 will give UK firms the unique opportunity to showcase their expertise and professionalism to potentially participate in big projects around the world.
An increasing number of building companies across the UK are considering applications for construction work ahead of major events in Qatar, Brazil and Russia. McBains Cooper, which has an alliance in Brazil for the venue of the 2016 games, expressed its determination to negotiate with all regions that are candidates for the 2020 games to secure future contracts.
Chief executive at McBains Cooper, Michael Thirkettle, said: “Everybody involved in construction, whether in Brazil or the 2020 candidate venues, has commented on the success of the planning and construction of everything London games-related. More often than not it’s accompanied by some positive reference to the UK construction industry, and its professional advisers and consultancies being the best in the world.
“The fact is that in comparison to any other recent major sporting event – and some recent Olympics – London 2012 construction has run far faster and more efficiently. That has been noted by other countries, and, frankly, because of our reputation, British construction and professional consultancy businesses are amongst the very few who can travel the world to help drive and deliver major projects for other venue cities.”
Mr Thirkettle thinks that every business in the UK has the unique opportunity to promote itself and bring more investment from abroad.
He said: “The Olympics is a fantastic global shop window for British management expertise, design and construction skills, and that expertise can be exported to make other games equally impressive.”
Do you see the successful construction work of the Olympic venues as an opportunity for your business to win more contracts in future? Tell us how optimistic are you about exporting your business abroad?
Train4TradeSkills Radio: Manuel Aquino talks about training as an electrician with Train4TradeSkills
You can listen to Manuel’s Interview from Train4TradeSkills Radio via AudioBoo at www.audioboo.fm/train4tradeskills
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As reported on Train4TradeSkills blog this week, Premier Inn, the England’s biggest budget hotel chain, has announced further investments for the building industry as it paves the way for more hotels to be built across the UK.
In addition to the £5.9 million investment in Camborne announced yesterday, Premier Inn brings £4.1 million investment to Coventry, as it opens a new hotel later this month.
With low availability of affordable hotel places in some parts of the UK and pressure to reduce costs, more smaller hotels are being built – especially such offering affordable prices to customers. Premier Inn has invested millions of pounds across the country in building and renovating new hotels across the UK. Recent developments include hotels in Worcestershire, Barry, Dartford and Camborne.
Although UK unemployment rose by 118,000, in the past three months since November, the building sector doesn’t seem to be affected due to the governments’ extensive investment to create thousands of jobs in the building construction sector.
The Prime Minister announced in the Commons today that whilst unemployment is rising, there is an increase in the number of people working; another 18, 000 people are in work.
“We need more private sector employment and we need to move further and faster on that agenda.” – Mr Cameron said.
Chris Grayling, the Work and Pensions Minister said in a BBC interview this morning that the recent figures on unemployment are more complex than they first appear.
Mr Grayling said that the government has lots of work to do in regards to improving employment opportunities and getting more people back to work. He said: “The private sector is creating jobs faster than the changes in the public sector.”
Mr Grayling said that there were more to the statistics than what first met the eye, but he admitted unemployment level was much too high.
If you are in the building sector, do you feel safer with your job than people in other industries? Tell us why? Do you think that enough is being done to tackle the unemployment?
You can listen to Ewan’s Interview from Train4TradeSkills Radio via AudioBoo at www.audioboo.fm/train4tradeskills
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Planning permission has been granted to the biggest North East housing redevelopment on the banks of the Tyne which will create hundreds of jobs in the building construction industry.
The project is part of the government’s scheme to build 16, 000 new homes across England to deal with the current shortage of affordable houses as well as to help first time buyers with lower interest rates.
The government has recently argued that making homes more affordable for first time buyers will increase demand in the housing market and will help the building industry to generate more revenue.
The North East housing redevelopment will bring more jobs to the region as more than 1,800 homes will be built over the next 15 years in the Scotswood area of Newcastle.
Key developers and house builders involved in the project include Barratt, Keepmoat and Yuill; they expect to start building work on the first 400 homes this summer. The housing development will comply with Level 4 of the government’s Code for Sustainable Homes, which is higher than the currently required standard.
The government has said it will support first time buyers in their efforts to get on the housing ladder easier which will increase housing demand and generate more money in the building construction sector.
First time buyers will get support and funding from the Homes and Communities Agency’s FirstBuy scheme, which is part of the Government’s wider proposals to boost growth by simultaneously stimulating demand, tackling supply-side barriers and supporting local building priorities.
The New Tyne West Development Company, the private-public partnership formed by the builders and the city council, will be running workshops in coming months to help local firms and builders to bid for work on the development.
Businesses and building companies interested in the bidding process can contact Amanda Senior on 0191 226 7943 or email Amanda.email@example.com for further information.
What is your reaction on granting planning permission to the largest housing redevelopment in the North East? Do you think you/your business would benefit from the building construction work which will be done in future? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below:
According to the research, British workers believe a decent salary is key to career satisfaction, cited by 64%, as well as a sense of achievement in your work (59%) and being able to work the hours you want (46%).
The hospitality and leisure sector ranked the highest in the survey, 29% labelling themselves as very satisfied.
The research, carried out among 1,200 British workers and commissioned by Train4TradeSkills, shows only 14% of workers in retail and 15% in transportation could say they were very satisfied.
Overall, 28% of British workers admit they are not satisfied in their current job and only one in four have no plans to change their career in the next five years.
Twenty four per cent of manufacturing staff classified themselves as very satisfied in their current job, revealed the Manufacturer.
However, better salaries don’t always equal greater job satisfaction. Only 24% of those earning £25,000 – £29,999 are dissatisfied in their job, compared to 27% who earn between £35,000 and £49,999.
Mike Head of Train4TradeSkills, commented: “There are many people working in Britain who are not satisfied in their current job and while pay is deemed important, it’s interesting to see that big salaries do not always equal career satisfaction.”
Mr Head added: “The process of retraining and changing careers can be a challenge, but by looking for cost-effective courses that offer virtual learning and the ability to work while you learn, many Brits could find themselves embracing a career they love in the next few years.”
The study shows that overall, the vast majority (84%) of British workers agree there were aspects of their current job that they don’t like. However, 64% have highlighted that there are factors stopping them from changing their careers if they were to pursue this. The key issues for those being stopped from changing their careers were revealed as: not being able to afford to take a pay cut (37%), not being able to afford to retrain (29%) and simply not knowing what they want to do instead (35%). provides the latest developments in manufacturing sector, from production and maintenance to logistics and IT.
Do you feel satisfied in your current job? Is there anything you would like to change in your career and why? Share your thoughts by commenting below:
You can listen to Ian’s Interview from Train4TradeSkills Radio via AudioBoo at: www.audioboo.fm/train4tradeskills
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