Monthly Archives: March 2013

Building trade given £30m boost to get projects off the ground

Building trade given £30m boost to get projects off the groundThe Government has backed a £30 million investment package to help small construction businesses secure credit from B&Q and Screwfix via their TradeUK credit scheme.

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.

CBI: Industrial output to pick up sharply in next three months

Industrial output to pick up sharply in next three months

Manufacturers expect output to accelerate sharply in the next three months that will boost the trades, according to the CBI’s latest monthly Industrial Trends Survey.

The survey of 398 firms found that output growth over the last three months remained steady but subdued.

But the outlook is much brighter for the next quarter, with output volumes expected to rise rapidly – the strongest expectations since April last year – with the anticipated pick-up in variety of markets and mechanical engineering sectors.

Exports orders are also at their highest level for three months, while total orders are broadly flat. Meanwhile expected price inflation has fallen back to levels last seen midway through last year.

Anna Leach, CBI Head of Economic Analysis, said: “Manufacturers appear more optimistic about the next few months than the official figures and commentary would suggest, with sharp rises in output expected right across the sector.

“Total orders were steady and in line with long-run averages and there was some pickup in exports, possibly helped by the weak pound.

“Price expectations have fallen to the lowest level for six months – driven by inflation expectations plummeting from near-record highs in the food, drink and tobacco sector.”

Bam Construct wins £10m Sheffield schools contract

 

BAM Construction has been named preferred bidder for a £10 million contract that will see the building of two new primary schools in Sheffield.

The UK-wide contractor will build the schools in Shirecliffe and Fir Vale for Sheffield City Council, paving the way for new jobs in the construction industry and boosting the trades.

BAM is now working on designs to meet the requirements of the council ahead of a start on site in September 2013. Completion is scheduled for August 2014 so the schools can open at the start of the 2014/15 academic year.

Construction director Kelvin Pollard said: “We look forward to using our experience and skills to create two schools Sheffield can be proud of.

“These are important facilities for the city and we are delighted BAM has been chosen to deliver them.

“It is a great sign that BAM continues to be selected as a company trusted to deliver quality buildings at affordable prices through regional frameworks such as YORbuild.”

Councillor Jackie Drayton, Sheffield City Council’s cabinet member for children, young people and families, said: “Giving children the best possible start in their education is essential in helping them reach their full potential.

“Research has shown that children’s achievement at school can be improved by their surroundings. These new schools will provide desperately needed places and put well-designed facilities at the heart of the community. It’s great to hear that work will be starting soon.”

BAM has built a series of major education and health projects in Sheffield in the past ten years such as the Arts Tower and culminating in the laboratory rationalisation project for Sheffield Teaching Hospitals.  On the border with Rotherham, BAM is delivering the new Advanced Blade Casting Facility for Rolls-Royce.

NewBuy scheme set to boost housebuilding in Wales

The Welsh Government

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.”

What is your reaction to the new NewBuy scheme in Wales that will see the building of new homes and boost the construction industry? Share your thoughts by commenting here or raise your voice on our Facebook and Twitter pages.  

Plans for Great Haddon Urban Extension given the go-ahead

Plans for Great Haddon Urban Extension given the go-aheadPeterborough City Council has approved plans for building 5,300 new homes as part of the Great Haddon development which is set to create thousands of jobs in the construction industry.

Peterborough Planning and Environmental Protection Committee has backed plans to build three primary schools, one secondary school and some 5,300 new homes alongside the 390 hectare site in the south west of Peterborough

The scheme is expected to create 24,600 new jobs in the next 8 years whilst delivering wider economic growth to the Peterborough area and boosting the trades.

The project has been included in the government’s London-Stansted-Cambridge-Peterborough growth area to help meet the UK’s housing shortage and generate economic growth.

The Committee has asked the Consortium to work up further details for certain aspects of the scheme, such as the design of the Yaxley ‘Loop Road’ and the timing of provision of community facilities, to ensure that those aspects of the scheme are fully scrutinised prior to implementation of the consent.

The applicants’ team will be working these details up over the coming weeks prior to a report being presented back to Committee.

Lucia Serluca, the chairman of the planning committee, said it was essential that good and efficient infrastructure is built before people started moving in to the new homes.

“Let’s not just build the houses and forget about everything else,” she said.

“We need to build the houses in conjunction with the educational centre, the retail centre, to make sure the amenities that those residents will have, they have as soon as they live on the development.”

 

George Osborne reveals £3bn infrastructure fund to boost the trades

George Osborne reveals £3bn extra investment to boost the trades

Chancellor George Osborne has used Budget 2013 to announce an additional £3 billion investment plan to boost infrastructure spending and create new trade jobs.

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.”

What is your reaction to Budget 2013 announced by Chancellor Osborne to boost infrastructure spending and build new homes? Share your thoughts by commenting here or raise your voice on our Facebook and Twitter pages.  

AstraZeneca to build £330 million Cambridge centre

AstraZeneca to build £330 million Cambridge centre

Pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca has announced plans to build £330 million research centre and corporate HQ in Cambridge that will pave the way for new jobs in the construction industry.

The move is part of the company’s proposals to create strategic global R&D centres in the UK, US and Sweden to improve pipeline productivity and to establish AstraZeneca as a global leader in biopharmaceutical innovation.

Focusing on the company’s UK-based activities at the new centre in Cambridge, the pharmaceutical giant will build on AstraZeneca’s world-leading protein engineering capabilities already based in the city, expanding its operations and boosting employment across a range of industries in the area.

Chief executive of AstraZeneca, Pascal Soriot, said: “Our proposed investment is a clear signal of AstraZeneca’s long-term commitment to the UK and highlights the important role Cambridge plays internationally in bioscience research.

“The Government’s Life Sciences Strategy and the meaningful policies they have put in place in recent years to encourage investment help make Britain an attractive location for biopharmaceutical research and development.

“Cambridge, which boasts strong links with London-based research institutions, is a world-renowned bioscience hotspot that rivals the likes of San Francisco and Boston.

“In a world where partnerships and collaborations drive medical progress, becoming an integral part of the Cambridge ecosystem offers compelling advantages for AstraZeneca, giving us easier access to leading-edge academic and industry networks, scientific talent and valuable partnering opportunities.

“I believe that the investment we are announcing today greatly increases the chances that the next generation of innovative medicines will be invented and manufactured in Britain.”

What is your reaction to the £330 million plan to build a new research and corporate centre in Cambridge that will boot the construction industry and the trades? Share your thoughts by commenting here or raise your voice on our Facebook and Twitter pages.  

Government Approves Northampton Enterprise Zone Site

CPO Powers Secure Enterprise Zone Site

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has confirmed a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) for the development of a 2.4 hectares scheme in Northampton Waterside Enterprise Zone.

The CPO is set to kick-start the transformation of the area, boosting the construction industry and creating new jobs in the trades. Plans include the building of 40,000 sq metres quality office space and six-storey Innovation Centre, which begins construction this summer.

Councillor David Mackintosh, Leader of Northampton Borough Council said: “Across our town we are seeing exciting Northampton Alive projects breathing new life into areas as we unlock their potential.

“There are real opportunities to invest in Northampton and our Enterprise Zone. This is another positive step as we bring together another site for redevelopment and new employment opportunities.”

WNDC now owns all of the vacant land, 5 commercial properties and 10 residential properties in St Peter’s Waterside. In addition, the Corporation is in advanced discussions with National Grid about the potential to include two adjoining Gasholder sites in the development plans.

Government Approves Northampton Enterprise Zone Site

The CPO is one of two that the Corporation has launched in the Northampton Enterprise Zone, with the other Order covering the Avon Nunn Mills site. A decision on that CPO is expected later this spring.

Chris Garden, WNDC’s Director of Regeneration said: “With its central location and transport links, St Peter’s Waterside is a perfect location for high profile office development.  We have been buying land in the area for some time, but this CPO means we have consolidated various sites and can press ahead with our plans.

“There will be cranes in the skyline this summer, with work starting on the first phases of development and demolition. Meanwhile, directly opposite the site, construction will be underway on Northampton’s new railway station. It is a defining period in the regeneration of the town.”

What is your reaction to the Compulsory Purchase Order given by Communities Secretary, Eric Pickles, to pave to way for new businesses as well as boost the trades? Share your thoughts by commenting here or raise your voice on our Facebook and Twitter pages.  

Multi-million pound investment reaches out for new jobs in Hull

Multi-million pound investment reaches out for new jobs in Hull

The Government has announced a £20 million investment plan to build a renewable energy factory in Hull that will create 300 new trade jobs.

Energy Works, the technically advanced renewable energy power plant to be built in Hull, will use household waste, and will generate enough energy for more than 25,000 homes.

The funding has been given from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), which is managed by the Department for Communities and Local Government and is a key part of the financing for the £100 million-plus energy recovery plant that uses an innovative combination of green technologies and will be the first of its kind in the UK.

Communities Minister Baroness Hanham said: “This plant will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and contribute to the security and diversity of the energy supply.

“Supporting this Hull-based company with public funding to pioneer these cleaner, more efficient technologies and sharing the learning gained from operating the plant, will help to roll out similar facilities elsewhere in the UK and around the world.

“This investment will create highly skilled jobs and contribute to the Humber area’s growing reputation as one of the best places in the world to develop environmental energy businesses“.

The complete Energy Works development will be built to sort, pre- treat and process different types of waste with several advantages over more conventional technologies, including that it complemented recycling efforts and produced improved air quality.

Spencer Group’s Chief Executive Charlie Spencer said: “We are delighted that the Government and the European Commission have recognised that Energy Works is an innovative, green and clean development which can be replicated elsewhere.

“It has been a pleasure to brief the Minister on the many benefits it offers. This grant is a key element of the funding model and enables the project to move forward.

“As a Hull-based company, we are intensely proud that we will be pioneering a UK first in the city and that our investment will add to the Humber region’s credentials as the UK hub for renewable energy technologies.”

White City residential scheme gets the go-ahead

Dairy Crest Site

Hammersmith and Fulham Council have given the go-ahead to Helical Bar and Aviva Investors to build 1,150 new homes in White City, west London.

The 1.5 million sq ft residential-led development is based on the former Diary Crest site and is expected to create thousands of jobs in the construction industry and boost the trades.

Current plans include demolition of all existing buildings on the site and providing up to 1,150 new homes, business space, local retail and associated services, leisure and a range of community facilities comprising a multi-purpose community building incorporating basement and service level car parking.

The scheme will also see the building of an Urban Square, a public Central Garden Square with communal and private space available on site.

Development Director at Helical Bar, Matthew Bonning-Snook, said: “We are extremely excited about our proposals for Brickfields.

“The Eric Parry design code for the masterplan uses a predominantly natural palette of brick and stone to create sustainable and attractive buildings which, alongside the public realm and amenities, will form a genuine new London community.”

The brick-built homes will be a mixture of affordable, shared and private ownership. The developer and partner Aviva Investors also plan to build 150,000 sq ft of offices, retail and community facilities.

The site is part of the Mayor of London’s and Hammersmith and Fulham’s White City Opportunity Area, set to deliver thousands of new homes and jobs for the capital.

What is your reaction to the new residential development at White City that will see the building of new homes and boost employment in the trades? Share your thoughts by commenting here or raising your voice on our Facebook and Twitter pages.