- 05 Nov 2010
Positive about the future of construction
At Labour's annual conference Alan Ritchie, general secretary of the Union of Construction, Allied Trades and Technicians (UCATT), warned that public sector cuts would lead to a "huge loss" of job opportunities for construction workers.
Following on from the election and the previous administration's campaign standpoint of 'Labour investment versus Tory cuts', he said that: "The millionaires in the Cabinet claim that we're all in this together - this is utter nonsense. They sit in their mansions getting richer, while families are left to rot in bed and breakfast bedsits."
Mr Ritchie described how the construction industry had been "kept going" by public sector spending, which was now being slashed by the Coalition Government. He was introducing a conference motion to party activists in Manchester which states that the Coalition's cuts are "an act of political vandalism, which will harm the economic recovery by removing thousands of construction jobs, limiting opportunity for expanding skills and taking much-needed growth away from the sector".
Whatever your view of these emotive words, the fact is that deficit reduction was necessary, and all parties had planned for cuts, with construction being just one area of the economy to be affected.
Talk though, to builders and manufacturers across the construction industry, in the private sector, and they are feeling positive about the future. Indeed, next time you're out and about, note how many construction sites there are working, compared to, say, just a year or so ago: many of them having been mothballed during the worst times.
And then there has been the good news that Britain's economy grew at the fastest pace for nine years in the spring, with the Office for National Statistics holding its estimate for growth of gross domestic product (GDP) between April and June at 1.2 per cent, a pace not seen since 2001.
The advance - originally estimated at an already surprisingly high 1.1 per cent - was upgraded last month following better-than-expected figures in the construction sector. The upward revision in GDP growth in August was driven by a record-breaking performance in construction sector output, which was revised upwards again on 28th September to 9.5% from 8.5%, its strongest rate since the second quarter of 1963. And meanwhile the International Monetary Fund has praised the new Chancellor's deficit reduction proposals which will help the UK retain its Triple-A credit rating and continued low interest rates.
Plastic Surgeon, for its part, has seen strong activity in the new build area of its work – particularly during the housebuilder's end of year surge - and genuinely senses our industry has turned the corner.