Levelling Up White Paper Published
The Government has released its Levelling Up White Paper setting out how it intends to give everyone the chance to flourish by ‘ending the geographical inequality… of the UK’ and ‘improving economic dynamism and innovation to drive growth across the whole country’. With the aim of providing clarity and consistency over its levelling up objectives, the document details 12 medium term ‘missions’ to be achieved by 2030 which include:
- The number of people successfully completing high‐quality skills training will have significantly increased in every area of the UK
- Local public transport connectivity across the country will be significantly closer to the standards of London
- The number of non‐decent rented homes will have fallen by 50%, with the biggest improvements in the lowest performing areas
- The UK will have nationwide gigabit‐capable broadband and 4G coverage, with 5G coverage for the majority of the population.
The levelling up agenda offers huge opportunities for the construction sector and all central Government policies will be aligned to it, with extra resources delivered to local areas and devolution extended in England. The Government will now engage with a wide range of stakeholders for their views and set out further detail on the policy commitments in due course.
Construction Activity Recovers
The latest information from Builders’ Conference shows that 424 contracts worth £6.3 billion were awarded in January. In encouraging signs for the industry, the number of contracts increased by a third after reaching a four‐year low in December and the value of contracts rose to its highest level since September. 68% of all the contracts awarded by value were in the private sector. There were 130 housing projects worth £2.5 billion (40%), the largest of which was a £700 million project to build nearly 3,000 homes across five sites in Suffolk; five energy projects totalling £466 million (7%); and 50 education projects worth £436 million (6%).
The number of tender opportunities was 5% higher than the previous month but still 52% below the monthly average for the past year.