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Merseylink announced as Mersey Gateway Project preferred bidder

Merseylink announced as Mersey Gateway Project preferred bidder

Merseylink has been announced as the preferred bidder for the Mersey Gateway Project that will create 470 construction jobs and boost the building trades.

Merseylink and Halton Borough Council will work on the final details of the plans before reaching financial close, signing a contract and starting site clearance and demolition later this year.

The Merseylink design for the main bridge is based on a reinforced concrete deck, which is a change from the reference design, based on steel fabrication. This is one of the areas that has produced significant financial savings for the project.

Once a formal financial close is reached, Merseylink will then become the project company and will work with the council to deliver a 30-year contract to design, build, finance and operate a new toll bridge over the River Mersey between Runcorn and Widnes, together with associated work in the towns.

The centrepiece of the project is a new six-lane toll bridge over the River Mersey which will bring major estimated economic, transport and social benefits to the region, including:

  • 470 permanent full-time equivalent jobs on site during construction
  • 4,640 permanent direct and indirect jobs
  • £61.9 million a year in Gross Value Added from the new jobs by 2030
  • quicker journey times by up to 10 minutes in peak periods, and
  • an improvement in journey time reliability.

Cllr. Rob Polhill, Leader of Halton Borough Council, said: “This is a hugely important day for Halton and the north west of England. This partnership with Merseylink will deliver Mersey Gateway for the next 30 years and it is very exciting to be part of something that will bring thousands of jobs and major regeneration opportunities to the region for years to come.”

“We all know something needs to be done to relieve the pressure on commuters who are used to being stuck in queues to cross the Silver Jubilee Bridge and we know from talking to local businesses, both big and small, that this is a major issue when it comes to growing the north west economy.”

Government to promote offshore wind investment

Government to promote offshore wind investmentBusiness and Energy Minister Michael Fallon has announced the creation of an Offshore Wind Investment Organisation (OWIO) to boost levels of inward investment and to further stimulate jobs in the UK offshore wind industry.

The OWIO is expected to boost the UK offshore wind industry alongside Government support for three offshore wind innovation projects as well as pave the way for new employment opportunities in the trades.

Energy Minister, Michael Fallon said: “Offshore wind is a major success story for the UK, and we want to boost levels of inward investment. This will be an important part of our industrial strategy for the sector later this year, and we are creating the Offshore Wind Investment Organisation to drive that activity.

“We already have more installed offshore wind than anywhere else in the world, and this brings enormous economic benefit to our shores, supporting thousands of skilled jobs.

“Through the formation of this industry-led partnership and through our support for innovation projects, we will boost the positive benefits that the offshore wind sector can bring to the UK economy.”

The OWIO is one of the recommendations of the forthcoming industrial strategy and will be headed by a senior industry figure. The organisation will be a partnership between industry and Government, established by UK Trade & Investment, that will complement the work of DECC and BIS in delivering the Government-wide offshore investment objectives.

Michael Fallon also announced three innovation projects that Government will support as part of Offshore Wind Components Technologies Scheme:

  • Power Cable Services Limited, based in Kent, have been awarded a £540,000 grant towards their high voltage subsea cable jointing technology project
  • Aquasium Technology Ltd with partners Burntisland Fabrications Ltd and TWI have been awarded a grant of £769,600 towards their cost-effective fabrication project.
  • Wind Technologies Ltd (Cambridge) have been awarded a £728,355 grant to design, manufacture and test an innovative 5MW medium speed drive train concept.

The Minister announced the support during his keynote speech to Renewable UK’s Offshore Wind 2013 conference in Manchester today.

Industry delegates at the conference are also able to attend the first ‘Share Fair’ session enabling them to hear about investment opportunities from major players in the market. This addresses one of the priorities identified by the offshore wind industrial strategy partnership between Government and industry.

What is your reaction to the Government plans to boost levels of inward investment and create new jobs in the UK offshore wind industry? Share your thoughts by commenting here or raise your voice on our Facebook and Twitter pages. 

Government to unlock thousands of new homes and jobs

Government to unlock thousands of new homes and jobsThe Government is going to build thousands of homes at stalled housing sites and create new construction jobs through a multi-million investment package set to kick-start the economy and boost the trades.

Today, Housing Minister Mark Prisk confirmed that 14 major housing schemes across the UK  will benefit from the investment that can start building up to 38,000 new homes.

A share of the Local Infrastructure Fund, which has a total budget of £474 million, will create thousands of jobs for local communities and people in the trades across the country.

The funding programme is targeted at large-scale sites of over 1,500 homes that could deliver real benefit to their communities.

Housing Minister Mark Prisk said: “This government is determined to get Britain building again. That’s why we are working with local housing schemes that have their plans in place, but need help to move forward.

“Our support through the Local Infrastructure Fund will help deliver the homes this country needs, create thousands of jobs and inject millions of pounds of investment into local economies.”

Homes and Communities Agency Chief Executive, Andy Rose, said: “This investment from the Local Infrastructure Fund is about building momentum behind some of those larger locally-backed housing developments to accelerate the supply of new homes.

“There is work to be done to ensure these bids deliver value for money for the taxpayer and fit with local priorities, but I am looking forward to getting out on site and seeing progress on successful bids in the months ahead.”

What is your reaction to the Government’s plans to kick-start thousands of homes at stalled housing sites and create new construction jobs in the trades? Share your thoughts by commenting here or raise your voice on our Facebook and Twitter pages. 

Kier to upgrade Harlow housing

Kier 1Repairs and maintenance provider, Kier is further extending its work in Harlow with an additional £4.5 million contract to improve Harlow Council’s housing stock.

Kier began working with Harlow Council in 2007 when a joint venture partnership, Kier Harlow, was formed to provide a number of services to the town from housing repairs for the council’s 10,000-plus properties to street scene and grounds maintenance.

Due to start in June this year, the additional contract sees Kier appointed as principal contractor to work alongside Kier Harlow in improving kitchens and bathrooms throughout the council’s housing stock.

Continuing for up to four years, the works will upgrade all of Harlow Council-owned properties to ensure they meet and surpass the Government’s Decent Homes standard requirements.

Kier Services planned works manager Christopher Bunker is responsible for delivering the programme. He said: “The partnership will operate from our existing Kier Harlow base and will benefit considerably from the wealth of existing knowledge within the JVCo team.

“Kier is very proud of the contract award and is looking forward to making a big difference in residents’ homes – I’d like to say a big well done to all those involved in securing the work.”

Kier Harlow operations director, John Phillips said: “It is Kier’s goal to continuously improve the customer’s experience in Harlow and this contract together with new team members will be pivotal in achieving our aim. I would also like to extend my sincere appreciation to the team who worked hard to secure this contract.”

What is your reaction to the £4.5 million Harlow contract that will create new jobs and boost the trades? Share your thoughts by commenting here or raise your voice on our Facebook and Twitter pages.

Longer HS2 tunnel could create over 7,000 jobs in East Midlands

HS2A tunnel on the proposed route of Britain’s High Speed 2 rail network could be extended to enable plans for a major development next to East Midlands Airport to progress.

The initial preferred route would have seen the new rail line cross the site of the proposed SRFI, which has the potential to create 7,000 jobs in the region, and threaten the feasibility of the proposed development.

During discussions with MPs and local authorities on the proposed route for phase two of HS2 from Birmingham to Leeds, concerns were raised by Leicestershire County Council, and MP for North West Leicestershire, Andrew Bridgen, in conjunction with Roxhill Developments Limited, that the proposed line could affect plans for a strategic rail freight interchange depot (SRFI) next to the airport.

After listening to these concerns, the government has now developed a revised option involving extending the proposed tunnel under the East Midlands Airport, avoiding the majority of the proposed SRFI site.

The Department for Transport will consult on the route later in the year as part of its public consultation on phase two, and after that consultation, a decision will be made. In the meantime, the developer will progress its plans for the proposed depot.

Kate Bedson, Senior Development Director at Roxhill said: “Our proposals for a new SRFI with 6 million square feet of associated warehousing have the potential to create 7,000 jobs, providing a boost to the economy in the region.

“Since the announcement, through our MP and local authority, we have enjoyed an early and positive dialogue with DfT and HS2 Ltd and are very pleased with the decision to amend the proposed route. This now allows us to consult with the public and other bodies on our plans before submitting our application at the end of the year.”

Construction of Swansea University campus gets underway

£20m Europe Day boost as construction of Science and Innovation campus gets underway

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.

Over £20 million from the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government will be invested to build the centre which has also received backing from the European Investment Bank (EIB).

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.”

Wales Office Minister: “Green Deal great for consumers and business”

Wales Office Minister Green Deal great for consumers and businessWales Office Minister, Stephen Crabb, has visited the British Gas Training Academy in Tredegar to show his support for the Green Deal initiative that will create thousands of new jobs.

The Green Deal will give homes and businesses a new way of paying for energy efficient improvements, such as insulation and new heating systems.

The scheme is expected to support 60,000 jobs in the insulation sector by 2015, providing a real boost for the expanding market of energy efficiency products and the construction industry.

Mr Crabb said: “Thousands of homes across Britain are wasting energy and money because of poor energy efficiency, yet demand for measures to counter this remains low. The Green Deal gives people the opportunity to make this right.

“And today, we will see that it’s not just consumers that will benefit. The Green Deal is also great for business, creating a new market and new jobs.”

The Greendeal programme provides funding of up to £15,000 for each home which can be used to install one or more officially approved Greendeal measures.

These Greendeal measures have been proven to save energy and therefore help the environment as well as reduce the cost of energy bills.

Green Deal in numbers

  • £125 million is available in the Government funded Cashback Scheme
  • 8 million households could benefit from solid wall insulation
  • 4 million households could benefit from cavity insulation
  • 60,000 jobs are expected to be supported in the insulation sector alone by 2015 – up from 26,000 in 2011
  • £3.5 million of funding to training in key Green Deal skills
  • £270 a year could be saved if a typical three bedroom semi-detached house installed just solid wall insulation
  • 38% of the UK’s total greenhouse gas emissions come from leaky buildings

What is your opinion about the Green Deal initiative that will create new jobs boost the trades? Share your thoughts by commenting here or raise your voice on our Facebook and Twitter pages.


Government commits £1bn investment to build 10,000 new homes

Government reveals £1bn build-to-rent fund set to deliver 10,000 new homesHousing 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.”

What is your reaction to the new £1bn build-to-rent fund that will deliver 10,000 new homes and boost the trades? Share your thoughts by commenting here or raise your voice on our Facebook and Twitter pages.

Royal Liverpool Hospital gets the go-ahead by government

Royal Liverpool Hospital gets the go-ahead by government

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 launches new Anglia growing business fund

Business Secretary launches new Anglia growing business fund

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.  


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