Spending review must put capital investment at heart of economic growth

With construction output at its lowest level since 1999 and the continued reality of a flatlining economy causing long-term pain in the sector, the 2013 spending review must set out a clear path towards economic growth driven at both a local and a national level. That was the message from the chief executive of the National Federation of Builders (NFB) on the eve of the coalition government’s spending review 2013.

While there are tentative signs of growth in some areas of the economy, construction continues to suffer with recent construction output figures in May showing a 6.3% year-on-year drop. The chancellor must guarantee a pipeline of work and long-term commitments to capital spending to ensure that the small and medium-sized firms (SMEs) that make up 99% of the construction industry can play their part in the economic recovery.

The NFB called for renewed, long-term commitments on capital investment to get the construction industry moving.

Julia Evans, chief executive of the NFB, said:

“While we accept that there will be less money available over the next few years, there is an urgent need for the current government to offer a consistent message to industry – clearly focused policy and targeted capital spending are key ways in which the government can help drive growth throughout the construction supply chain sector and the wider economy.”

The construction industry can be a clear driver of value-for-money growth, particularly for the SME sector which contributes significantly towards local economic development. For every £1 invested in the sector there is a £2.84 benefit to the wider economy making this industry one of the best uses of taxpayers’ money.