Creating Britain's Future Launches Regional Campaign in Manchester

25 January 2013

Industry calls for support for investment to create employment and encourage economic growth

Local decision makers and senior political figures will meet with members of the construction industry in Manchester today at the regional launch of the Creating Britain’s Future campaign to discuss the urgent need for investment in the industry as a means of encouraging economic growth and creating jobs in Manchester and the North West.

Construction’s contribution to the North West economy cannot be overlooked: industry input into the region in the first three quarters of last year was £8 billion and the sector is a huge employer of people from all educational backgrounds: over 200,000 people are employed in construction in Manchester and the North West, representing over 6% of the local work force. The construction industry has the capability to deliver world class projects in Manchester and the surrounding area, such as One St Peters’ Square, the 56km extension to the tramway system linking the airport and Oldham to the city centre, and a transformational academies building programme across Oldham and the St Catherine and Firwood Academy.

However, the difficult economic environment has had a damaging effect on the sector: new public and private sector work declined 17% in 2012 compared to 2011, and planning approvals last year in Manchester were down 28% on the prior year.  Construction output in the North West is expected to fall by an annual average of 0.9% between 2012 and 2016. Without essential investment, these declines will continue, putting jobs at risk and threatening the growth of the local economy.

Coordinated by the UK Contractors Group (UKCG) and its member companies, the Creating Britain’s Future campaign was originally launched last summer in London by Dame Tessa Jowell MP to coincide with the Olympics, and is now being rolled out to different cities throughout the UK during 2013.  Speaking at the event at Manchester Town Hall will be Sir Howard Bernstein, Chief Executive of Manchester City Council; Paul Sheffield, CEO of Kier Group plc and a leading figure in the Creating Britain’s Future campaign; and Mike Lane, Project Director at Willmott Dixon’s Oldham academies project. 

Paul Sheffield, CEO of Kier Group plc, said: “Working together to drive forward local construction activity is becoming ever more important as we continue to face economic challenges, and it is great to see the work Manchester City Council is doing to support infrastructure investment. Construction is essential to maintain the city’s competitiveness and is creating much needed employment in Manchester and the North West. However, there is more that can be done: the industry needs to work closely with local political leaders and central government to ensure that the value infrastructure brings to the region, and the wider country, is understood.  Key to supporting our industry is the ability to unlock new capital to support projects by making use of surplus land and pension fund assets, and delivering value for money for tax payers through the efficient use of resources”.

Stephen Ratcliffe, Director of the UKCG, said, “The significance of the construction industry to the national and local economy should not be underestimated; every £1 invested in the sector generates £2.84 in economic activity, and 92p of every £1 spent on construction in the North West is retained within the region.  Support for the Creating Britain’s Future campaign can make a real difference in helping to stimulate local growth and creating jobs.”