Monthly Archives: February 2012

Big Jumps in Profits for House Builders as Residential Investment Continues to Grow

House builders across the UK have seen a rise in their operational margins for the second half of 2011 as residential investment property delivered a return of 11.3% last year according to statistics published today by the Annual Residential Property Index.  

One of UK’s largest home builders, Taylor Wimpey, has doubled its operating margins from 6.4% in 2010 to 10.1% for the last quarter of 2011 as the house market continued to improve.

Taylor Wimpey’s operating profit jumped to £159.5 million for the last year, representing an increase of 81% compared to operational profit of £88.3 million for 2010.

Growth in the housing market is considered to be a result of the continual government investment aiming to build more new homes all over the UK. It has recently invested £250 million in affordable housing schemes and made proposals to sell off public land to encourage house-building projects.

Chief executive at Taylor Wimpey, Pete Redfern, said that company’s performance is a result of a continual focus, significant improvement in margins and return on capital.

Mr Wimpey said: “While wider economic conditions remain uncertain, the UK has seen a period of continued stability in the underlying housing market and strong growth across a number of areas as shown by our order book. We feel well-positioned to deliver further improvement through our value-driven strategy.”

Are you optimistic about future growth in the housing market and what it would mean for you? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below: 

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Train4TradeSkills Radio: Plumbing tutor David Cambray talks about plumbing training with T4TS, Part 1

David Cambray is a plumbing tutor at Train4TradeSkills fulfilment centre in Worcestershire. Train4TradeSkills Radio spoke to David to find out what students make of his training and how they are going to use it to develop their career.

Listen to David’s Interview from Train4TradeSkills Radio via AudioBoo at: www.audioboo.fm/train4tradeskills 

UK Industry Could Save £1.4 Billion from Energy Lighting

A leading energy efficient firm has published a report suggesting that the UK’s manufacturing industry could save as much as £1.4 billion per year by switching to a new lighting technology which will significantly reduce spending on energy costs.

The report, entitled The Light Bulb Moment, is based on a 4-year survey conducted by Vita Energia across 500 manufacturing and industrial firms, each employing over 100 members of staff. Vita Energiaexplores the different methods that UK businesses can use to improve their energy efficiency with minimal investment and help cut carbon emissions.

It has been estimated that by upgrading existing lighting technology, UK manufacturing and industrial businesses could make huge savings which will have a real impact on energy usage in commercial premises across the UK.

The report concludes that addressing the current light efficient systems within the manufacturing sector will provide a timely boost to the UK’s industry operational performance and contribute to economic growth in the future.

Director of Vita Energia, Duncan Stevens, said that the report is a valuable indication for UK business to optimise their performance and make improvements across different manufacturing and industrial sites in the UK.

Speaking to Business Green, Mr Stevens said: “The calculations are very robust, they are based on detailed surveys of lighting technologies and fittings, and energy prices at a variety of locations; the evidence is there that energy efficient lighting systems can save firms a lot of money.

“The technology is now proven and people can see it delivers substantial savings; the focus for businesses has to be on the economic case for these types of deployments.” Mr Stevens added.

What is your reaction to the report by Vita Energia? Do you think you or your business could make savings by adopting more efficient lighting systems? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below: 

Train4TradeSkills Radio: Pawel Sulis talks about plumbing training with T4TS

Pawel Sulis is training to become a plumber with Train4TradeSkills. Train4TradeSkills Radio interviewed Pawel to find out how his plumbing course is going.

You can listen to Pawel’s Interview from Train4TradeSkills Radio via AudioBoo at: www.audioboo.fm/train4tradeskills   

HS2 Could Include £2.6 Billion Water Pipe

One of the UK’s largest water suppliers, United Utilities, has announced plans to build a £2.6 billion water pipe alongside the proposed HS2 high-speed rail line.

The water giant has projected a cost of £7 million per mile to install the 6 ft in diameter pipe which will boost water supply to London and the South of England. United Utilities has made a rough estimate the project will cost £1.1 billion to build the pipeline from London to Birmingham and another £1.5 billion to complete the entire project from Birmingham to Leeds.

Sustainability Director of Thames Water, Richard Aylard, welcomed United Utilities’ plans to build a water pipe alongside the HS2. He said: “It’s well worth looking at and makes sense to do so as part of the HS2 project.” However, Mr Aylard questioned who would bear the cost of the project saying that the scheme is likely to affect water consumers paying higher bills.

The government recently backed the £32 billion investment for the high-speed railway which will create new jobs in the building construction sector, boost the economy and cut the journey time between London and Birmingham to 49 minutes.

United Utilities’ Chief Financial Officer, Russ Houlden, said that England is facing drought challenges and the HS2 is an opportunity to run a water pipeline between the North and South of England which will tackle concerns regarding water shortages in the future.

Mr Houlden said: “The current drought emphasises what we have known for some time – that there is more water available in the North than the South and that this issue will become more acute as climate change impacts hits us over the next 50 years. A North-South pipeline could be built to address that. Typically, the objections to such an idea have been build cost, operational cost, planning difficulties and environmental impact.

“HS2 offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to minimise planning difficulties and environmental impact.” Mr Houlden added.

United Utilities is expected to present its proposals to the House of Commons Select Committee on the 7th March this year. Further details about the construction work and who might be running the scheme will be announced at a later date.

What is your opinion to the proposal of United Utilities to build a £2.6 billion pipeline along the HS2 high-speed rail line?  Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below: 

Train4TradeSkills Radio: Shaun Gomersall talks about plumbing training with T4TS

Shaun Gomersall is training to become a plumber with Train4TradeSkills. Train4TradeSkills Radio interviewed Shaun to find out how his plumbing course is going.

You can listen to Shaun’s Interview from Train4TradeSkills Radio via AudioBoo at: www.audioboo.fm/train4tradeskills   

Regional Growth Fund to Create New Jobs

 

The government has made an extra £1 billion investment to the Regional Growth Fund (RGF) which will help firms in the building construction sector to create new jobs.

With the increased funding, the total amount available to firms that are looking to create new jobs will reach £2.4 billion. The scheme is expected to make a significant contribution to the manufacturing and construction industry.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said the RGF is already having a huge impact on jobs’ creation because businesses across the UK now have the investment which will contribute to their local economy.  The Liberal Democrat shared his enthusiasm about using the money for carbon cutting initiatives that will have positive effects on the environment and the renewable sector.

Mr Clegg said: “There have been over 170 successful bids to the fund, leveraging around £7.5 billion of private sector investment and set to create and protect 330,000 jobs. I want to see more businesses that are confident they can create jobs and get Britain building”

“Funding from rounds one and two has gone to some extraordinarily promising manufacturing projects. From Pirelli Tyres in Carlisle who’ll use the money to develop a new range of carbon-cutting tyres; to a Portsmouth based company which hopes to use theirs to create a cutting edge boat building college.

“These projects will lead their communities into brighter times, helping put industry at the heart of the UK’s economy. Businesses have until June to apply for a share of this extra £1 billion.”- Deputy Prime Minister Clegg added.

How would your business benefit from the £1 billion investment of the Regional Growth Fund? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below:  

CBI Says Infrastructure Industry Should be a Priority for The Government

The UK’s largest employers group, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), has appealed to the government to stimulate economic growth by investing more into infrastructure projects.

Although the building construction sector remains one of the most stable industries in the UK, the CBI thinks greater investment is needed for infrastructure projects to encourage continual growth and business confidence.

The CBI has proposed a number of measures for the government as an opportunity to provide real boost for private sector investments in infrastructure schemes and give more support to small and medium businesses.

General Director at CBI, John Cridland, explained that the government should use Chancellor’s budget statement next month to deliver significant financial stimulus to make mortgages more affordable to the housing market.

Mr Cridland thinks future growth through reforms of the UK’s tax system is essential for businesses to invest in Britain. He is calling on the government to make some changes into the current system which will create new opportunities for growth.

Mr Cridland highlighted the significance of infrastructure investment as one of the most important priorities which the government needs to support in order to encourage industry’s growth and create permanent jobs.

He said: “Delivering private sector investment in infrastructure, supporting mid-sized businesses, hammering out the details on credit easing, extending the Youth Contract to 16 and 17-year-olds, and introducing the New Build Indemnity Scheme for mortgages at the earliest opportunity will all provide a real boost for UK growth and jobs.”

Do you agree with the CBI that the infrastructure industry is a key factor for economic growth and creating new jobs? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below:  

Train4TradeSkills Radio: Thomas Okochi talks about electrical training with T4TS

Thomas Okochi is training to become an electrician with Train4TradeSkills. Train4TradeSkills Radio interviewed Thomas to find out how his electrical course is going.

You can listen to Thomas’s Interview from Train4TradeSkills Radio via AudioBoo at: www.audioboo.fm/train4tradeskills    

Cameron Supports the Renewable Industry

The Prime Minister, David Cameron, has written to 100 Conservative MPs, who recently complained about wind farm subsidies and demanded cuts to the £500 million a year, paid to the wind power industry.

The 100 MPs, who wrote to the Prime Minister last month, expressed concerns that wind farm proposals are not welcomed by local residents and that they might damage the natural landscape of Britain.

The Prime Minister shared a robust defence of the government’s plans to continue with its commitment to support renewable energy projects across the UK. Mr Cameron echoed strong support for wind farm subsidies, describing them as vital investment for the creation of green jobs and reducing carbon emissions.

Mr Cameron said: “On-shore wind plays a role in a balanced UK electricity mix, alongside gas, nuclear, cleaner coal and other forms of renewable energy, a portfolio of different supplies enhances energy security and prevents the UK from becoming over-reliant on gas imports.”

However, Mr Cameron said he sympathised with local residents’ concerns but the national interest of Britain had to be considered in order to fulfil its commitment to meet targets for renewable energy and to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

 

What is your reaction to the Prime Minister’s support for the renewable industry? Are you more optimistic about the future of wind farms after Cameron’s backing?  Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below: