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Costain Supports Infrastructure Alliance Initiative

13 November 2012

Costain and a group of leading trade organisations are calling on the Government to do more to address some of the biggest infrastructure challenges facing the country over the next decade.

The UK faces many challenges: increased congestion on its roads, uncertainty about how the country’s future energy needs will be met, a widening skills gap and the prospect of rising youth unemployment. All risk potentially hampering the country’s economic recovery.

In order to address these challenges, Costain, along with a group of leading trade bodies called the Infrastructure Alliance (IA) and CITB-ConstructionSkills, the Sector Skills Council for the UK construction industry, are urging the Government to address the country’s future infrastructure needs.

The IA includes the Association for Consultancy and Engineering (ACE), the Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA), the Construction Products Association (CPA) and the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE).

All parties are calling on the Government to adopt a consistent approach to delivering infrastructure projects in order to deliver on the Government’s National Infrastructure Plan, which outlines the scale of the challenges facing UK infrastructure and the major investment that is needed to underpin sustainable growth.

A safe, reliable and well maintained infrastructure network is essential for the future prosperity of the country and to ensure the successful delivery of goods and services.

When the National Infrastructure Plan was published in October 2010, it identified the need to invest £200 billion over five years in the energy, transport, waste, flood, science, water and telecoms sectors.

The argument for increased infrastructure investment is compelling. In a report called ‘Backing the Construction Sector to Generate Jobs’, the CBI cites research from LEK which estimates that for every £1 invested in construction, the country gets back £2.84 in economic activity.

The benefit to local economies is also considerable, with over 90p in every £1 of construction spending retained locally and 93% of the supply chain sourced domestically, which creates jobs.

Darren James, Costain’s Managing Director for Infrastructure, recently delivered a speech to the Liberal Democrats’ annual conference in Brighton on behalf of the IA calling for a rebalancing of infrastructure investment throughout the UK.

In his speech, Darren said that while the Government has responded well to calls for assistance from the construction industry by reforming the planning system and creating Infrastructure UK, more needs to be done to tackle youth unemployment and skills training.

With youth unemployment just under one million, the CBI believes that supporting young people into sustainable jobs has to be a top priority if the UK is to avoid a lost generation.

“We want to generate the engineers of the future in UK schools, colleges and universities. To do this we need to match training to demand and analyse planned investment to identify the skills we need to create a world class workforce,” said Darren.

Darren said the IA is calling for a clear set of actions in each sector and for a realistic assessment of how priority projects and programmes will be paid for, and how skills and training can be provided, in order to ensure projects are delivered on time and on budget.

“Costain is committed to shaping training opportunities around skills shortages and job opportunities across the construction industry. Through the Infrastructure Alliance, we hope to bring these issues to the forefront of the Government’s thinking on infrastructure, skills and training,” said Darren.