Category Archives: Politics
Building work is set to start today on the Swansea University’s second campus that will create 4,000 construction jobs with a further 6,000 indirect posts supported in the wider economy.
The First Minister made the announcement whilst on site to mark the start of construction of the new campus which took place on Europe Day.
First Minister, Carwyn Jones, said: “I welcome the opportunity to be here on this significant day not only to mark the start of construction but also, crucially, to acknowledge the benefits to Wales of our relationship with Europe, including EU funding.
“This EU investment will help drive forward the development of the new Science and innovation Campus, creating a cornerstone for world-leading research and employment opportunities in the construction industry as work gets underway.”
The EMC will include state-of-the-art facilities to enable Swansea University to carry out research and development, particularly through collaborative projects with industry. It will support a range of collaborations with businesses in sectors such as advanced engineering, the digital economy and low carbon technologies.
Finance Minister, Jane Hutt, said: “I am delighted we have been able to invest EU funds to pioneer innovation and deliver state-of-the-art education facilities, benefiting Swansea and beyond.
“We have a key commitment through our Programme for Government to enhance research and innovation to help increase Wales’ global competitiveness, and create jobs and growth. The European Structural Funds programmes in Wales are helping us to achieve this goal, having already generated a total project investment of around £400 million in R&D and innovation alone.”
EMC will accommodate the University’s Civil and Computational Engineering, Electronic Engineering, Materials and Mechanical Engineering as well as Printing and Coating activities.
The Vice-Chancellor of Swansea University, Professor Richard B. Davies, said: “We are delighted to have been awarded funding from the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government for the Engineering Manufacturing Centre.
“The EMC will provide world-class research facilities and a resource for industry to access world-leading expertise to help improve manufacturing products and processes and develop new ones, thus contributing to the economic regeneration of the region.”
Scotland’s planning system will create new trade jobs and economic benefits to help deliver sustainable economic growth, Planning Minister Derek Mackay has announced today.
The third National Planning Framework (NPF) and draft Scottish Planning Policy (SPP) will influence development plans across Scotland and guide future planning decisions on a range of sectors including transport, energy and infrastructure.
The NPF is the Scottish Government’s strategy for the long-term development of Scotland’s towns, cities and countryside. It sets out strategic infrastructure needs and priorities over the next 20 to 30 years that will pave the way for new jobs in the construction sector.
Mr Mackay said: “Scotland needs a planning system that has, at its heart, the overriding principle of delivering sustainable economic growth in order to maximise the country’s attraction to investors and visitors in a global economy.
“We want future planning decisions to give significant weight to the economic benefit of proposed developments, particularly the creation of new jobs.”
These draft proposals are supported by on-going measures to improve the overall performance of the planning system, ensuring smoother delivery and a stronger focus on economic recovery.
Planning Minister Derek Mackay added: “The consultation on the National Planning Framework and Scottish Planning Policy will influence development plans across the country for the next thirty years affecting every part of Scotland.”
He said: “We will support our review of Town Centres by insisting that major new developments which attract people – like workplaces, leisure facilities and shops – are in town centres wherever possible. We want to see development which ensures lively, successful and viable town centres.
“I am keen that planning does more to encourage good design, and the creation of the kind of places we would all like to live in or visit. Our forthcoming policy on Architecture and Place will show what we are doing to achieve this.
“Scotland is enriched by a high quality environment and many special places to live in and visit. These physical assets underpin our economy and our quality of life and that is why we need to ensure developments go in the right place, providing positive benefits for our communities and environment.”
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Housing Minister Mark Prisk announced today that up to 10,000 new homes could be built by 2015 that will create new jobs and boost the trades.
The minister announced the first 45 projects to be taken forward using the £1 billion Build to Rent Fund which will provide equity finance to house builders and developers.
Mr Prisk said that the innovative new projects, a quarter of which are for London, will be the first step toward creating a more balanced rental market, driven by quality instead of demand.
The Build to Rent Fund is designed to help developers invest in homes built specifically for private rent by reducing the up-front risk in a relatively untested market.
A first round of projects will now receive a share of £700 million government investment package, with a second round of bids for the remaining fund expected to open later this year.
Projects going forward in this round have the potential to deliver between 8,000 and 10,000 homes, and include:
- Genesis Housing Association, with plans for new rental homes around London
- Place First, along with Together Housing Group, who will be building across Northern England
- Crest Nicholson, who intend to bring a significant number of homes to market over many sites across the country
Mr Prisk said that the varied mix of developers, from brand new organisations and small housing providers to long-established developers, will bring new blood into a market currently dominated by small-scale buy-to-let landlords, and will help to give tenants more choice when choosing a home in the future.
Housing Minister Mark Prisk said: “This government is determined to get Britain building, and the Build to Rent Fund is set to help us deliver, with up to 10,000 new homes to be built from these projects.
“We’ve seen overwhelming demand for the fund, and it’s become clear that there’s a real appetite for rental investment. We want to support that, which is why we’ve made a £1 billion Budget boost to the fund.
“Now, these new projects will help us map this almost uncharted market, bringing in new blood to improve rental quality and choice, and building the new homes that this country wants and needs.”
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The government has given the go-ahead for the building of Liverpool’s £425 million Royal University Hospital that will create 750 full-time construction jobs.
The multi-million development is set to employ local people, materials and services where possible to generate an additional £240 million for the local economy and boost the trades.
The Department for Health and the Treasury have approved the funding and the hospital is now assessing bids from two construction companies, Carillion and Horizon, that will design and build the hospital by 2017.
After the bidder is appointed, the hospital will obtain final planning permission and sign contracts, with building construction work expected to begin early next year.
Aidan Kehoe, chief executive, said: “I am delighted that we are now just weeks away from unveiling the design for our new hospital.
“The new Royal is at the very heart of our city and this is a significant step forward in the creation of our world-class hospital.
“It also brings us one step closer to the creation of the Liverpool BioCampus, which has the potential to transform the city, propelling us onto the world stage along with Boston and Singapore.”
What is your reaction to the £425 million funding for the building of new Royal Liverpool University Hospital that will create hundreds of construction jobs and boost the trades? Share your thoughts by commenting here or raise your voice on our Facebook and Twitter pages.
Business Secretary Vince Cable has launched a new £3 million funding scheme for East Anglia that will kick-start growth for small firms in the trades.
The New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership is specifically aimed at helping firms that want to grow but have been held back by a lack of finance.
The £3 million fund will provide cash grants to businesses looking to expand their operations
and create new jobs. Funding for the scheme has come from the government’s Regional Growth Fund.
The fund will provide grants of up to 20%, between £25,000 and £100,000, to business that have a shortfall in their investment plan and are able to create at least one job for every £10,000 provided by the fund.
The Business Secretary launched the fund at Redpack in Norwich, a company which hopes to benefit from the new fund and expand its existing operations in the city.
Business Secretary Vince Cable said: “A lack of finance is one of the biggest barriers facing firms that want to grow. The government is already taking big steps to help companies bridge that gap and now, thanks to this new fund, businesses across East Anglia will get that helping hand they need.
“Through programmes like the New Anglia ‘Growing Business Fund’, the government’s Regional Growth Fund has supported around 1,200 small and medium sized companies across the country, helping them create jobs, increase skills and grow their business.”
What is your reaction to the new funding scheme for East Anglia that will kick-start growth for small businesses and boost the trades? Share your thoughts by commenting here or raise your voice on our Facebook and Twitter pages.
The first step has been taken to allow the redevelopment of the 14.57 acre Harmsworth Quays printing works site in Canada Water, South East London, to go ahead.
The decision is a key milestone for the development which has the potential to deliver significant improvements to the local area and create new trade jobs.
Cllr Fiona Colley, Cabinet Member for Regeneration at Southwark Council, said: “In addition to new homes, the redevelopment of Harmsworth Quays has the potential to deliver the town centre and jobs that Rotherhithe really needs.”
British Land will now begin working up proposals in consultation with Southwark Council and the local community to realise the full potential of this important site. Vacant possession of the site will be available later this year following the relocation of DMGT’s printing operations to Thurrock.
Southwark Council, which is currently developing policy to guide the redevelopment, will be adopting a preferred option of its Area Action Plan in May for consultation. This will emphasise the council’s and community’s vision to create a mixed-use town centre at Canada Water.
Both Southwark Council and British Land have committed to exploring the potential to create a new campus for Kings College as part of the scheme, to complement their proposals for the adjoining site at the Mulberry Business Park.
Nigel Webb, Head of Development for British Land, said: “We are delighted that the London Borough of Southwark has agreed the assignment for Harmsworth Quays. We can now begin the process of working with the local community, the London Borough of Southwark and other key stakeholders to bring forward a new, mixed use development in the heart of Canada Water.”
The pilot scheme will help small and sole trader construction businesses to secure credit from B&Q and Screwfix stores that will allow them to bid for bigger construction projects in the future.
Customers of B&Q TradePoint and Screwfix, part of the Kingfisher Group, can now apply for a credit account of up to £25,000, where previously they may have struggled to secure credit due to a lack of security or adequate credit history. Existing trade customers will be able to apply to extend their accounts for credit of up to £50,000.
Previously, these viable businesses would only have been eligible for credit of up to £3,000 from Screwfix or B&Q, making it harder for them to take on projects due to being unable to afford the upfront costs of the materials. Kingfisher is able to support the additional lending as a result of it being backed by a government guarantee.
The pilot is the result of work between the government and Kingfisher to adapt the existing Enterprise Finance Guarantee scheme to widen access to funding and provide alternatives to bank lending. Business Minister Michael Fallon will now be writing to other companies offering them an opportunity to take part in the pilot scheme and offer their customers access to this new source of finance.
Business Minister Michael Fallon said: “Builders and tradesmen are experiencing a real bottleneck when it comes to accessing credit, and projects are being held up unnecessarily. This pilot is an innovative attempt to make a real difference for the sector.
“Britain’s builders have a vital role to play in delivering growth in this country and we’re determined to get behind them.”
Ian Cheshire, Group Chief Executive of Kingfisher, said: “By piloting this new scheme we are backing Britain and backing the country’s professional tradesmen.
“Access to credit and control of cashflow is vital for smaller tradesmen, so we are pleased that Screwfix and B&Q will be able to make it easier for more of their trade customers to get credit through this innovative new scheme. By backing Britain’s tradesmen we can boost spending on the home and help get the economy moving again.”
The pilot allows Kingfisher to give credit to trade businesses it would normally have to turn away, by sharing the risk through providing government guarantees of 75 per cent on its lending. As well as allowing Kingfisher to lend to viable businesses outside its present risk profile, the scheme also allows it to lend more to existing businesses.
The pilot has been designed so there is no new administrative burden to Kingfisher. All credit decisions will be made by Kingfisher based on existing processes, and customers and frontline staff will see no difference to the trade credit application.
The Welsh Government has announced to launch its flagship mortgage guarantee scheme this summer that will boost the construction industry and create new jobs.
The NewBuy Cymru scheme will enable home buyers to access high loan value mortgages which will have a positive impact on the housing market and see the building of around 3,000 new homes across Wales.
The housing sector has widely welcomed the scheme which is set to provide significant employment opportunities in the trades. It is estimated that for every £1 spent on building houses, there is £1.40 generated in gross output across the economy as a whole.
Minister for Housing and Regeneration, Carl Sargeant, said: “NewBuy Cymru is not only good news for the Welsh economy but good news for families and individuals across Wales.
“We are all aware of the difficulties that people are having in either buying their first home or moving up the housing ladder. NewBuy Cymru will provide a helping hand in the shape of a mortgage guarantee to people that have been saving hard to put down a deposit for a new home.
“By helping to kick-start the housing sector it’s hoped that NewBuy Cymru will help tackle poverty and provide a welcome short in the arm to our economy.”
Executive Chairman of the Home Builders Federation, Stewart Baseley, said: “It is fantastic news for Wales that NewBuy is being launched. In recent years many people in Wales have been unable to buy a home because of the large deposits required to secure a mortgage.
“NewBuy will allow people to buy with a more realistic 5% deposit and so realise their dream of home ownership. Opening up the market will also allow builders to build more homes, so creating jobs and providing Wales with an economic boost.”
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The Budget sets out further action to build a stronger economy, with help for UK businesses to create jobs and kick-start major construction projects across England.
Chancellor Osborne said in Parliament today that the government was “already supporting the largest investment in railways since Victorian times and spending more on new roads than in a generation.”
The Government would now boost spending by £3 billion from 2015-16 with the money saved from departmental budgets, amounting to a total of £15 billion of extra capital spending in the next 10 years
The Chancellor has also announced a new Help to Buy scheme involving equity loans on new build houses and £130 billion mortgage guarantee programme that will help people to buy their new homes.
Chancellor George Osborne said that by investing in the arteries of the country’s infrastructure, the Government will get growth “flowing to every part of the country”.
The latest stimulus of financial support to tackle long-term shortage in the housing market will see the building of new homes and boost employment in the construction industry.
Mr Osborne said: “We’ve switched billions of pounds from current to capital spending since the spending review. But on existing plans, capital spending is still due to fall back in 2015-16. I don’t think that’s sensible.
“So by using our extra savings from government departments, we will boost our infrastructure plans by £3 billion a year from 2015-16.
“That’s £15 billion of extra capital spending over the next decade. Because by investing in the economic arteries of this country, we will get growth flowing to every part of it.
“And public investment will now be higher on average as a percentage of our national income under our plans than it was in the whole period of the last Government.
“In June, we will set out long term spending plans for that long term capital budget.
“And we will use the expertise of Paul Deighton, the man who delivered the Olympics and who now serves in the Treasury, to improve the capacity of Whitehall to deliver big projects and make greater use of independent advice.”
The British Property Federation has welcomed the Government’s funding increase to kick start the housing market and help a number of build-to-rent schemes.
Director of policy at the British Property Federation, Ian Fletcher, said: “It’s encouraging the Government’s confidence in build to rent has been reciprocated and we are delighted to see that the equity funding was heavily oversubscribed.
“Working in partnership with government the sector should deliver an exciting and quality array of homes for renters.”
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