Civils contractors set out priorities for next government

Britain’s civil engineering contractors have released the priorities they believe must be pursued by the next UK Government if it is to deliver economic growth and set the nation on a path to a more prosperous, sustainable future.

Priorities for an incoming Government 2024/25, published this week by the Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA), sets out an ambitious agenda for an incoming UK Government to be pursued following a General Election, which Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has confirmed will be held later this year. The document focusses on:

  • Investing in the future – through maintaining delivery of projects outlined in the National Infrastructure Strategy (NIS);
  • Maintaining confidence – through ensuring the ‘Star Chamber’ for infrastructure announced at Autumn Statement 2023 immediately puts infrastructure back at the heart of policy-making;
  • Enabling our regions to thrive – by pursuing the ‘Levelling-Up’ agenda and supporting industry to develop an independent and impartial advisory bank of expertise to offer local authorities advice on planning issues, unblocking projects and optimum procurements;
  • Delivering world-class connectivity – by publishing a high-level English Transport Strategy which supports Sub-National Transport Bodies (including Transport for London), integrates with the devolved nations and delivers firm five-year capital settlements complemented by indicative five-year funding;
  • Strengthening our resilience – Publish a cross-cutting National Water Strategy driving collaboration across sectors, government departments, regulators and industry, and by driving improved ways of working in key areas such as upgrading wastewater network & reducing water demand;
  • Supporting our SMEs – by accelerating progress in abolishing retentions and ensuring social value requirements are reflective of SME needs;
  • Maximising best practice & driving innovation – by encouraging public and private sector clients to adopt and track progress against the utilisation of best practice models such as the Construction Sector Playbook, Project 13 and the recent Cabinet Office frameworks review;
  • Delivering skills for the 21st century – by developing an apprenticeship system for construction employers that is supported by public sector clients.

Commenting, CECA Director of Operations Marie-Claude Hemming said: “These priorities must form the basis of an incoming UK Government, whichever party or parties emerge victorious from the next General Election.

“The past number of years has seen the UK economy buffeted by a series of economic shocks, from the COVID-19 pandemic to the impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Key to returning the UK economy to dynamic growth will be stability, certainty, and pipeline visibility.

“We are calling on all parties to adopt these policies to ensure the UK is set on a more sustainable and prosperous future through the delivery of world-class infrastructure.

“Businesses and communities across Great Britain a relying on the next UK Government to get this right, by working with industry to drive growth, create jobs, and deliver the stronger economy the UK deserves in the years ahead.”

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