In an unprecedented show of co-operation, commitment and collaboration, the construction industry in Scotland has come together to issue its first-ever manifesto detailing the crucial steps which need to be taken to secure a viable and sustainable future for the sector.
Acting through the Construction Industry Coronavirus (CICV) Forum, a comprehensive range of trade associations, professional bodies, companies and individuals have signed up to the manifesto’s proposals.
First among the proposals, published in the run-up to the Scottish Government elections in May, is a plea for a dedicated Government Minister for the construction industry, which would recognise its importance both to the recovery and to a net zero-carbon future.
As well as a Minister for Construction, the manifesto proposes:
- A Chief Construction Adviser who would support the Minister and focus on delivery aligned with whole asset performance
- The development of an effective public sector maintenance and improvement programme
- The establishment of a VAT reimbursement fund for home repair and maintenance with a role for the Scottish National Infrastructure Bank
- Investment in affordable homes
- Development of the skills arena
- The introduction of a cycle network within the infrastructure investment plan
- The encouragement of conflict avoidance.
The Forum points out that 175,000 people, including 10,000 apprentices, work directly in the sector in Scotland – 10% of the total workforce. It also contributes £21.5 billion to the country’s GDP and is a major economic multiplier, generating £2.94 for every £1 spent.
Hew Edgar, Associate Director of Policy at the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB), and Chair of the Forum’s Future Planning sub-group, says: “This manifesto is a declaration of intent, emerging from the environment of collaboration and co-operation which the CICV Forum has fostered during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This is the industry speaking with one voice, with an aim to benefit the future health, wealth and wellbeing of the country.”
The manifesto is also designed to support the next government’s plans to meet Scotland’s ambitious targets on net zero, reduced energy use, decarbonisation, climate change, and other principal policy objectives around accessible, sustainable places and inclusive economic growth.
He adds: “In offering these proposed policy initiatives, the CICV Forum and its members demonstrate that they will continue to engage positively with the next Scottish Government, representatives in Holyrood and the wider sector to provide intelligence, best practice and advice.”
The manifesto is the latest initiative from the CICV Forum, which was established last March to protect and guide the industry through the ravages of the pandemic,
Made up of trade associations, private companies and professional bodies, it has drawn on the collective expertise of its members to maintain a steady supply of information and practical advice to the sector.