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Chancellor establishes the National Infrastructure Commission

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In a bid to stimulate growth in Britain, Chancellor George Osborne has established the National Infrastructure Commission.

Chaired by Lord Andrew Adonis, former Labour Transport Secretary, the independent body will assess the UK’s infrastructure needs to encourage growth across the whole of the UK, and minimise the notable gap between London and the rest of the UK.

Reflecting upon recent ONS statistics regarding construction growth, Mark Gregory, Chief Economist at EY, said “While the Northern Powerhouse is clearly a long-term vision, Manchester highlights the potential for cities within the north to thrive when they are given clear, continued economic focus – allowing them to find their own competitive position. It points to the opportunity for other areas of the wider North, including the North-East.”

It is vital that the Commission looks to improve opportunities for local construction firms across the North. Nobles Director, Peter Scarisbrick, recently underscored the importance that development projects benefit the local economy by adopting ‘a proactive and co-ordinated strategy to support the development of this sector’. Meeting with senior politicians in October, Scarisbrick noted “Liverpool has fewer large construction firms turning over £50m-plus compared to other places such as Manchester and Stockport”, adding that “as a consequence a large percentage of construction spend on projects in Liverpool inevitably goes out of the city”.

As many cities across the North are signing devolution deals, delivering further powers for housing, planning, transport and employment skills to local communities, it is vital that these powers are employed to grow and protect local construction businesses. The financing of construction SMEs, upcoming infrastructure contracts, current skills gaps and the effect of the Northern Powerhouse on local construction industries in the North will be heavily debated at the North England Build Expo 2016.

Free to attend, the show will include a 2-day conference, exhibition and 22 CPD accredited training workshops, as well as numerous networking sessions. Hear from leading industry experts such as Dr. David Hancock, Head of Construction for the Cabinet Office, Elvin Box, Associate Director, Performance Management at MACE and Sue Derbyshire, Chair of the Housing and Planning Commission for the Greater Manchester Combined Authority.

Adapted from press release by Joseph Green

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