Monthly Archives: February 2013

Advanced manufacturing supply chain fund to create thousands of new jobs

Advanced manufacturing supply chain fund to create thousands of new jobs

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has announced £213 million of industry investment that will improve UK’s manufacturing supply chain and create 11, 000 new jobs.

In addition to the thousands of new jobs that will be created through the multi-million investment, some 5,000 existing jobs are set to be safeguarded.

Over £73 million has been awarded from Round 2 of the Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain Initiative (AMSCI) to 12 national supply chain projects, and a further £140 million will be invested by business.

The scheme was open to bids from all manufacturing sectors as the Chancellor, George Osborne, announced an additional £120 million in the Autumn Statement for two further rounds of AMSCI funding.

Examples of winning bids include the creation of a ‘National Aerospace Technology Exploitation Programme’ led by the Aerospace Growth Partnership to address skills shortages and improve R&D collaboration in the aerospace sector.

The £35 million project will create nearly 5,000 jobs in the supply chain. Another successful bid, led by David Brown Gear Systems in Huddersfield, will position the UK as a world leader in the creation of large gearboxes for the next generation of offshore wind turbines.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said: “Boosting jobs and growth is my number one priority to build a stronger economy. This investment will secure Britain’s future as a world leader in industries like cars, where we have traditionally taken the lead, and new technologies such as wind turbine gears and semiconductor chips.”

What is your reaction to the investment announced by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg to improve the manufacturing supply chain and create thousands of new jobs? Share your thoughts by commenting here or raising your voice on our Facebook and Twitter pages.

Chancellor Should Boost Construction to Drive Growth

The Construction Products Association

The Construction Products Association (CPA) has called on the Chancellor George Osborne to recognise the potential of the construction industry to drive economic growth and create new jobs in the trades.

According to the Association, it is vital for the government to spend the multi-billion capital investment boost announced in the Autumn Statement that could provide 0.8% additional growth in GDP.

Chief Executive of the CPA, Diana Montgomery said: “With the general economic outlook continuing to look uncertain, we are urging government to do more to drive growth by building on the recent increase in capital investment for repair and maintenance of roads and extending this to other parts of built environment, such as housing, schools and hospitals.

“We also want to see the UK improve on its current ranking of 24th in the world for the quality of its infrastructure. For the UK economy to remain internationally competitive in attracting inward investment, it is essential that there are significant improvements in its infrastructure.

“Government frequently states it is aware of the importance of the construction industry and its product manufacturers and suppliers. In these challenging times for the UK economy, the opportunities that we provide to drive economic growth and build a more sustainable future for the UK need to be prioritised. We can only hope the Chancellor does indeed recognise this.”

To read the full draft of the letter from the Construction Products Association to the Chancellor, click here.

Rail industry adopts ‘pure construction alliance’ to boost the trades

Rail industry adopts pure construction alliance to boost the trades

Network Rail, Atkins, Laing O’Rourke and VolkerRail have formed the industry’s first ‘pure construction alliance’ to deliver £250 million Stafford Area Improvement Programme (SAIP) that will boost the trades.

The initiative, part of the West Coast Main Line, will see all sides working together and sharing information under a model trialled in Australia, where all parties share the benefits and the risks of the project.

This new venture represents a clear move away from the more traditional ‘hub and spoke’ style of contracting towards a completely integrated ‘one team’ structure expected to boost employment in the construction industry.

The formation of the SAIP Alliance has been welcomed by Network Rail’s managing director of infrastructure projects Simon Kirby who believes it represents a key change for the rail industry.

He said: “This type of truly collaborative approach is the natural way forward for contracting within Network Rail and indeed the wider rail industry. By adopting a common focus and shared approach with our industry partners, this will ultimately help to drive down costs, reduce risk and lead to the more efficient and timely delivery of major projects such as Stafford.”

The Alliance partners also believe that the approach adopted for Stafford heralds the way forward for cross-industry contracting.

Said Steve Higham of Atkins and a member of the Alliance Leadership Team said: “There is a clear requirement for us all to work smarter to reduce the cost of running the railway.

“We will collaborate with our alliance partners to do just that. With proven expertise in complex signalling projects, Atkins will deliver signalling, power, telecommunications and all multi-functional design for this important scheme.

“SAIP is an exciting project and provides an opportunity to push the boundaries of infrastructure delivery through innovation.”

Enterprise Zone Fund to accelerate growth and create new jobs

Enterprise Zone Fund to accelerate growth and jobs

A £59 million Enterprise Zone Fund to help speed up growth and create thousands of new trade jobs has been launched by the Government.

Enterprise Zones across England can now apply for funding to help them ‘turn shovel ready sites into job ready sites’ by completing key infrastructure projects and boosting the trades.

They reflect the Government’s core belief that economic growth and job creation should be led by the private sector. The Zones are focused on removing barriers to private sector growth with lower tax levels for business and a simplified planning regime and a lighter regulatory and administrative burden.

The Fund will help those Zones with real growth potential to put in place the infrastructure required to unlock sites so businesses can set up and take advantage of the offer available in Enterprise Zones, such as business rate discounts, simplified planning and superfast broadband.

Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Eric Pickles said: “Economic growth is this government’s biggest priority and Enterprise Zones are the engine room of that strategy. They are a fantastic way to attract the jobs and business investment that local areas need. This new £59 million fund will turbo charge that engine by turning shovel ready sites into job ready sites.

“Enterprise Zones have all the raw ingredients and growth incentives – simplified planning, low tax, super fast broadband and inward investment – they need to translate their potential into jobs and growth success. This is an opportunity to lay the infrastructure foundations so they are ‘gift wrapped’ ready to house new businesses.

“It is time for Enterprise Zones to take up the gauntlet of growth. Local Enterprise Partnerships can do more to make zones realise their potential sooner. The government is determined to work flat out with partnerships to clear any roadblocks in their zone’s path so they can forge ahead and deliver the jobs the country’s economy needs.”

The £59 million fund is part of the Government’s Local Infrastructure Fund of £474 million designed for infrastructure investment to support local economic growth, jobs and homes.

What is your reaction to the Enterprise Zone Fund that will support economic growth and create thousands of new jobs? Share your thoughts by commenting here or raising your voice on our Facebook and Twitter pages.

1,200 new homes and further investment for Cornwall

New homes and further investment for CornwallCornwall Council has committed to working with five different housing associations to deliver 1,200 new affordable homes in Cornwell over the next 4 years.

The Council has re-iterated its commitment to meet local housing needs as well as to create hundreds of construction jobs in the building industry and boost the trades.

Joining residents and representatives of Devon & Cornwall Housing (DCH) Cabinet Member for Housing and Planning, Mark Kaczmarek, said: “The Council works closely with a number of housing associations to deliver affordable homes for local people.

“The Council supports the delivery of new affordable housing through the planning process, and planning permission for this scheme was granted in 2010.  Cornwall Council also provides funding towards the cost of new affordable housing, including a contribution of £55,000 to this specific scheme.

“But this is not the only investment we are making. Given the desperate housing shortage and the Council’s commitment to meeting local housing needs, the Council has agreed ambitious plans to match pound for pound Government investment in new homes.

“I am pleased to announce that the Council is signing contracts with five housing associations to deliver an additional 1,000 affordable homes in Cornwall over 4 years with investment totalling over £20 million. Few councils have made such a commitment.

“DCH is one of the Council’s key partners and today I am endorsing a contract with DCH which will see them commit to deliver 500 affordable homes for Cornwall. This is a Council fund, in addition to their own schemes and programmes funded through Government. The Council welcome DCH’s commitment and the ambition they are showing in working with us to meet Cornwall’s needs.”

Andy Moore, Chief Executive of Penwith Housing Association, part of DCH said: “There is a huge need for affordable housing across Cornwall. The delivery agreement with Cornwall Council is extremely important in providing vital new homes like the homes at St Stephen and we are pleased to be one of the partners working with them.”

The £2.6 million scheme in St Stephen, which was completed in January 2012, provides 18 homes for rent and 4 for shared ownership.

There are 9 x 2 bedroom homes, 10 x 3 bedroom homes, and 3 x 4-bedroom properties. Support came from a £1,350,000 investment from the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) and a grant of £55,000 from Cornwall Council.

The group visited residents’ homes to see how living in their affordable housing has had a positive effect on their lives ensuring they were able to stay within the community where their families were based.

What is your reaction to the new affordable homes that will create jobs and boost the trades? Share your thoughts by commenting here or raising your voice on our Facebook and Twitter pages.

Time to seize the moment on offshore wind and the renewable industry

Investment in Scottish renewables to top £1 billion and support 11,000 jobs

Scotland’s Energy Minister Fergus Ewing has warned that the UK Government should allocate further investment to boost the electricity market and create thousands of offshore wind jobs.

A recent report by Cambridge Econometrics found that UK GDP will be £20bn or 0.8 per cent higher in 2030 if wind is deployed rather than gas, with 70,000 more jobs created – but that investors needed certainty if we are to secure these benefits.

Ahead of a debate on the Energy, Enterprise and Tourism Committee’s report on the achievability of the Scottish Government’s renewable energy targets, Mr Ewing warned the UK coalition ministers’ mixed messages on energy policy and continuing uncertainty around Electricity Market Reform, including the lack of a decarbonisation target until at least 2016, is risking jobs, investment and economic growth.

The proposals outlined in the Energy Bill published in November 2012 lack measures to give investors confidence beyond 2020, putting the UK at a disadvantage compared to countries like Germany which has already set a clear target of 26GW from offshore wind by 2030.

Scotland would benefit in particular from an increase in offshore wind, as we have a quarter of the offshore wind potential in Europe.

Already, four international turbine manufacturers, Gamesa, Areva, Mitsubishi Power Systems and Samsung Heavy Industries have announced they intend to build turbine manufacturing plants in Scotland, creating an estimated 8,600 potential manufacturing jobs.

Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said: “Offshore wind has reached a watershed. The industry has enormous potential, and to realise this potential it is essential that investors have confidence.

“Over the past weeks I have spoken to many potential investors who say the uncertainty surrounding Electricity Market Reform is starting to affect their investment decisions.

“The time to reassure them is now. The UK Government must make clear their ongoing support for offshore wind and emulate the Scottish Government’s approach by setting a 2030 electricity decarbonisation target now, not in 2016 as planned under the Energy Bill..

“Offshore wind has the potential to raise UK GDP by 0.8 per cent, and we must seize this prize. The opportunities the industry present us – in terms of jobs, investment, stabilizing energy bills and reducing our carbon output – are too valuable to risk.”

What is your reaction to the support by the Scotland’s Energy Minister to boost the renewable industry and create thousands of renewable jobs? Share your thoughts by commenting here or raising your voice on our Facebook and Twitter pages.

Waitrose announced as first retailer deal at London’s King’s Cross

Waitrose announced as first retailer deal at London’s King’s Cross

Waitrose has confirmed the development of a 29,000 sq ft supermarket at King’s Cross London that will create up to 170 new jobs and boost the trades.

The £18 million scheme also includes the construction of new state-of-the-art cookery school making Waitrose the only UK supermarket to have such facility on site.

Applications approval and listed building consent are likely to be submitted in May this year. Construction is anticipated to start in late 2013 with the shop and cook school due to open at King’s Cross in spring 2015.

The supermarket and cookery school will see the restoration and refurbishment of the Midland Goods Shed and the East Handyside Canopy.

The goods shed was originally built in 1850 by the Great Northern Railway as the temporary Maiden Lane passenger railway station while the original King’s Cross station was under construction.

Waitrose Managing Director, Mark Price, said: “We’re delighted to be part of the continuing regeneration of King’s Cross and are looking forward to creating up to 170 new jobs and building on the success of our school in Finchley Road.

“We always believe that, as a food retailer, we have responsibility to help educate and inspire people not only when it comes to their weekly shop but also when it comes to creating and enjoying good food. It’s fantastic to give even more people the opportunity to develop their culinary skills.”

The new supermarket will be in close proximity to superb public transport connections, being five minutes from King’s Cross and St Pancras mainline stations, as well as being surrounded by new and existing homes, offices, schools, community facilities and public spaces at King’s Cross creating an excellent customer catchment on the doorstep.

Richard Meier, Partner at Argent said: “It is fantastic to have a quality brand like Waitrose sign up at King’s Cross. We are creating a truly mixed-use development and this supermarket will become an everyday attraction both for the residents, students, workers and visitors already on site, as well as the wider local community.”

Nick Clegg backs City Deal for new jobs and growth

Government unveils more ‘City Deals’ to boost growth

Nick Clegg has today transferred greater powers to local authorities across England to drive economic growth, build thousands of new homes and boost employment in the trades.

The Deputy Prime Minister has backed the ‘City Deal’ which aim is to grant more freedom, powers and tools needed for local government to shape their economic future and create new jobs.

Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg said: “Even more places will be free from Whitehall control and have the tools to power their own growth. These deals help cities and their wider areas make once in a generation changes that will be felt by everyone across their region.”

Councils in England need to ease planning regulations and have greater control over funds to accelerate housing and residential developments.

According to Coventry and Warwickshire local authorities, the scheme is estimated to create around 30,000 jobs across the region and boost the trades.

The Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP) that led the City Deal bid said it was pleased by the Government’s decision to drive economic development tand create new jobs in the area.

Sir Peter Rigby, chair of the CWLEP said: “This is great news for Coventry and Warwickshire and allows us to put our very exciting plans into place to do just what the LEP was established to do – to create jobs and economic growth and prosperity.”

Deputy Prime Minister 1

The 20 cities and their outline proposals: 

Black Country: want to use a City Deal to grow their high-value manufacturing sector. They want to build on the Black Country’s track record in designing, building and exporting components and products such as aircraft control systems, turbo technology and an extensive range of automotive components.

Bournemouth and Poole: want to use a City Deal to encourage a transition to a more balanced local economy by boosting Advanced Manufacturing (particularly marine and aerospace) as well as digital and creative industries.

Brighton and Hove: want to use a City Deal to realise the economic potential of their eco-tech sector.  This is a new, and growing, sector in Brighton & Hove. The universities have developed specialisms in this area.  Brighton and partners want to build on this and encourage more innovation and business growth.

Greater Cambridge: want to use a City Deal to unleash the next wave of the “Cambridge Phenomenon”, which is a cluster of high-tech firms that focus on biotechnology, software and electronics around Cambridge, many of which have links with Cambridge University. Greater Cambridge wants to spread the “brand” of Cambridge over a broader area by creating better links between the science and business parks (e.g. Babraham Research Campus), the city centre (where Cambridge and Anglia Ruskin Universities are based), strategic transport routes and key residential sites (including the new town development of Northstowe), as well as the Enterprise Zone at Alconbury.

Coventry and Warwickshire: want to use a City Deal to capitalise on existing strengths in advanced manufacturing and engineering and to support the expansion of this sector. Coventry and Warwickshire want to grow these sectors by raising the skill levels of the workforce by increasing the number of people with intermediate and high level engineering skills and encouraging greater innovation in the sector.

Hull and the Humber: wants to use a City Deal to maximise the potential of the Humber Estuary. The estuary is already a home to a chemicals and processing sector worth £6bn and has the highest tonnage throughput of any UK port.  Humber now wants to grow the “Energy Estuary” by maximising these opportunities and the benefits of offshore wind investment – and to ensure that local people have the necessary skills to take up these opportunities.

Ipswich: want to use a City Deal to equip local people and businesses with the skills they need to take advantage of significant expansion in high value jobs through development of Sizewell and Felixstowe.

Leicester and Leicestershire: want to use a City Deal to accelerate the growth of key sectors in the economy (notably manufacturing and logistics) and to encourage greater commercialisation of research emanating from the three universities in the area (Loughborough, Leicester and De Montfort).

Milton Keynes and the South East Midlands: want to use a City Deal to deliver significant, sustainable growth in housing.   Over the longer term, this will allow the local area, and South East Midlands, to attract and find homes for high-skilled workers to drive economic growth.  In the shorter term, providing confidence to private sector developers will create jobs in construction and industry supply chains.

Greater Norwich: wants to use a City Deal to accelerate the growth of the internationally-recognised environmental and life sciences industry within the Greater Norwich area by focusing on the potential of Norwich Research Park.

Oxford and Oxfordshire: want to use a City Deal to accelerate the growth of the knowledge economy by building on the strong base (including significant clusters in bio-sciences, space technology and cryogenics), two world-class universities (Oxford and Oxford Brookes) and  internationally-recognised ‘Big Science’ research centres (eg Culham Research Centre and Harwell Laboratories).

Plymouth: wants to use a City Deal to build on its strengths in advanced engineering and design, marine renewable energy, maritime and sub-sea operations and supporting technologies.  It seeks to do this by increasing the commercialisation of research in these areas and increasing exports from its high growth companies.

Preston:  has seen significant private sector growth in the last 10 years, largely driven by growth in small and medium sized businesses.  Preston want to build on this and sustain further growth, particularly in the aerospace and advanced manufacturing sector by investing in infrastructure.

Reading and Central Berkshire: want to use a City Deal to ensure that local people have the skills they need to access local job opportunities.  Reading wants to focus on ensuring that people have skills in the growing sectors (particularly construction, logistics and knowledge intensive areas) and to ensure school leavers have the soft “employability” skills businesses need.

Southend and South Essex: want to use a City Deal to increase investor confidence to increase the supply of good quality office space and housing which will accelerate business expansion.

Stoke and Staffordshire: want to use a City Deal to build on strong heritage to become the internationally competitive home for Advanced Materials businesses in Europe.  They want to grow the advanced materials (metals, ceramics, polymers, etc.) sector and to promote the use in advanced manufacturing.

Southampton and Portsmouth: wants to use a City Deal to drive the growth and diversification of the maritime sector in the area. They are seeking to do this by supporting growth in the associated sub-sectors of transport and logistics, defence and advanced manufacturing, the visitor economy and the complex supply chains linked to research and innovation.

Sunderland and the North East: want to use a City Deal to expand their manufacturing base and to diversify and grow the city’s economy.

Swindon and Wiltshire: want to use a City Deal to capitalise on the strong military presence in the area.  They seek to do this by increasing the number of spin-offs firms from developments in military technology and to harness the skills from ex-servicemen/women.

Tees Valley: wants to use a City Deal to establish a global super cluster of petrochemical and processing industries  to compete on the world stage. They want to build on Tees Valley’s current industrial complex, which includes over 50% of the country’s petrochemical and a significant percentage of the pharmaceutical sectors.  Such a super cluster would have at its heart the production of cleaner energy, containing new developing, and associated, sectors such as biofuels from waste and other forms of renewable energy such as offshore wind.

David Cameron on India Trade Trip

David Cameron arrives in Mumbai this morning with a British trade delegation

Prime Minister David Cameron has arrived on a three-day British trade delegation in India set to win investment and create thousands of new jobs.

In what looks like the largest UK trade delegation to visit India, the Prime Minister is accompanied by more than 100 business representatives, including senior staff from Rolls-Royce, BAE Systems and BP, that are hoping to build long-term partnerships and double exports to the country by 2015.

In 2010, the UK attracted 97 new projects from India generating 6,096 jobs. It is estimated that 700 out of 1200 Indian firms in the European Union operate from the UK.

It is forecast that India will spend $1 trillion in the next five years on infrastructure and Britain is hoping its building construction firms to win some of those contracts. The Prime Minister’s trade delegation also includes 30 small and medium-sized firms.

Speaking at Unilever’s Mumbai HQ, Mr Cameron said: “India’s rise is going to be one of the great phenomena of this century and it is incredibly impressive to see.”

“Britain wants to be your partner of choice. We’ve only just started on the sort of partnership that we could build. As far as I’m concerned, the sky is the limit.”

Between 2001 and 2011, UK goods and services imports from India rose by 220 per cent while exports to India rose by 240 per cent.

Over the same period, India became a more important trading partner for the UK, with a significant rise in total UK exports and imports.

The Prime Minister has blogged on LinkedIn about why he sees British trade delegations as a vital part of his job. Read it from here.

What is your reaction to the trade delegation led by Prime Minister David Cameron to build long-term partnerships, create new jobs and boost the trades? Share your thoughts by commenting here or raising your voice on our Facebook and Twitter pages.

Heathrow unveils £3bn investment plan

Heathrow unveils £3bn investment plan

Heathrow Airport has announced plans to invest a further £3 billion in improving its infrastructure which will boost the building industry and create new jobs.

The announcement forms part of the airport’s business plan which represents one of the largest private-sector investments in UK infrastructure.

The plans include the completion of Terminal 2 and the early works on extending the building. It will see the development of integrated baggage system and the construction of new taxiways.

Heathrow chief executive Colin Matthews said: “Heathrow is the UK’s only hub airport and a strategically important national infrastructure asset.”

“Heathrow faces stiff competition from other European hubs and we must continue to improve the service we offers passengers and airlines.”

“We have invested billions of pounds in new facilities such as Terminal 5 in recent years and passengers say they have noticed the difference.”

“Our plan for a further £3 billion of private-sector investment will further improve the airport for passengers. The plan represents good value for money for airlines and passengers and comes at no cost to taxpayers.”

Heathrow will open the new Terminal 2 in 2014.  The subsequent move of airlines into the new terminal allows the closure of Terminal 1 in 2016. By 2019 work will already have started on extending Terminal 2.

Since 2003, Heathrow has invested £11 billion in the airport. Investment includes the construction of Terminal 5, a new Terminal 2 due to open in 2014, new baggage tunnels, and the refurbishment of Terminals 3 & 4.