Rebuilding Confidence… My take on the Comprehensive Spending Review

Being a pupil of a former comprehensive school I thought that I would be reasonably well qualified to comment on the comprehensive spending review, so here it goes…!

Having spent Sunday evening reading The Sunday Times, The Sunday Telegraph and Building Magazine, it’s difficult to compute all of the information being thrown at us and make sense of it all. It’s interesting to compare: The Times reads quite downbeat and negative, while The Telegraph is far more upbeat and positive about the opportunities that will be created. So much so, in fact, that they are even launching a campaign this week for Rebuilding Confidence! Ok so they carried two interviews with David Cameron and Vince Cable, but I do believe there is hope out there for all of us. Why? Well…

  • We’ve had four consecutive quarters of growth now.
  • Though 490,000 jobs are to go in the public sector by 2014-2015, this puts us back to around 2005 levels. Around four times as many people work in the private sector than the public sector.
  • BUT, 1.8m jobs will be created in the private sector according to the OBC (Office for Budget Responsibility) and 308,000 were created over the summer!

So what for construction…

  • According to The Telegraph, British Land has committed £600m to new developments this year, which is in line with pre-crisis levels. They also say rents are improving and occupiers are starting to take new space in  prime sites across the country.
  • Westfield shopping centre at Stratford also starts to deliver 1.9 million square feet of retail and leisure space for us to indulge ourselves in from February 2011 (well, the fit out works anyway).
  • In The Telegraph Cameron interview he is quoted as saying… ‘Crossrail is estimated to generate benefits of up to £50 billion, High Speed 2 could provide over £2 of benefits for every £1 spent, with the London to Birmingham line promising the UK as much as £32 billion’
  • In Building Magazine’s article So what’s left after the all the cuts?  James Wates, Chairman of the UK Contractors Group, said ‘…there are real opportunities for construction especially in transport and energy but also in education and health.’ Their report also seems to confirm that whilst spending will be curtailed the key message being taken is that Transport will be the seen as a key driver of economic growth (no pun intended).
  • Education is the bleakest spot for everyone in construction… But to echo a message I’ve heard from many Estimators over this period: Who seriously made any money at schools?! Enough said.
  • The thing that interests me most is the housing sector, as this has some interesting twists and turns to take. Is it the end of Social Housing as we know it? Well yes I think it is. But wasn’t it time for us to make some sweeping changes anyway?! A consultation scheme will be launched in November for the New Homes Bonus Scheme to be launched in April 2011, its aim being to bring in private sector funding on a much larger scale than ever before. I think its bold, but I also think it will create some great opportunities for us all. So get your thinking caps on and be creative and get involved I say. There’s more about this in Grant Shapps open letter that he tweeted on Saturday.

Now let’s hear what has to be said today by David Cameron at the CBI on growth, and also what The Telegraph publishes on Rebuilding Confidence…

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About Me

I’m now the Managing Director of Mynott Associates Limited my own specialist measurement business. I’ve been in the industry all of my life since I left school. My first job was with Bovis Construction as a management trainee where I trained to become a quantity surveyor. I’ve worked for contractors all through my career, I am FRICS, FCIOB and MCIHT qualified and act as an RICS assessor. I’m also a keen Arsenal supporter having followed them from a young boy

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