Archive 2016 08

News in Focus Simon Girling Martin Venning Dave Mason Karen Kirkham Barnaby Redwood Chris Noble THERESA May’s quick transition into Number 10 Downing Street in July helped reduce the UK’s economic uncertainty following June’s Brexit vote, and she now has the “opportunity to bring certainty and recovery to Britain’s construction industry by effectively addressing the housing crisis and moving forward with the key infrastructure projects that our country really needs,” says Simon Girling, national chair of the National Federation of Builders. During a major cabinet reshuffle in July, the new Conservative leader installed Phillip Hammond as chancellor, Damian Green as work and pensions secretary with Jeremy Hunt remaining as health secretary. For the construction industry, Jesse Norman was appointed as the sector’s new minister, with the Hereford MP responsible for construction and infrastructure. He will also support industrial policy alongside Greg Clark, who takes on the new brief of secretary of state for business, energy and industrial strategy. Former business secretary Sajid Javid replaced Clark as secretary of state for communities and local government and there was a promotion for Chris Grayling who will oversee the planned Heathrow www.builderandengineer.4 What May happen in the construction industry during Theresa’s reign? The prime minister has named plenty of new faces to help shape her government but what does the sector expect over the next four years? Airport expansion and the HS2 rail line as transport secretary. Ben Gummer is responsible for the government’s construction strategy as cabinet office minister, former defence secretary Liam Fox was appointed the secretary of state for international trade and Andrea Leadsom the environment secretary. Gavin Barwell took over as housing and planning minister and must build on the positive legacy left behind by his predecessor Brandon Lewis, says Federation of Master Builders chief executive Brian Berry, who also welcomed the appointment of Justine Greening as education secretary, who alongside Robert Halfon, will be responsible for skills and apprentices. “Greening has a solid background in transport and treasury briefs which will no doubt help her understand the importance of having a properly skilled construction workforce.” However, Berry was less than impressed with May’s decision to axe the department of energy and climate change, which he says is a sign that improving the energy efficiency of existing buildings has been pushed down the list of priorities. “Three years ago Cameron told his officials to ‘cut the green crap’ and May has taken this further still by dissolving DECC. This means that there will be no cabinetlevel minister championing climate change issues at the highest level of government, which is bound to result in less emphasis and less action,” he says. Infrastructure On her first day in office, May pledged to build a UK economy “that works for everyone” including boosting housing supply and infrastructure. However proposed projects including the building of the £18 billion Hinkley Point C power station and a third runway at Heathrow Airport are now in the balance. The government’s final decision on the Somerset reactor has been delayed until the autumn to allow May and her ministers to review the project, but Mark Northey, a partner in the projects team at Ashfords LLP, believes the UK’s decision to leave the EU may have ended any hopes of it getting the go-ahead. “Hinkley has been beset by continual delays and, whilst the chairman of EDF states that Brexit will not impact on the plans, some think that Brexit may be the final straw for the future of Hinkley,” he says. Photo: Policy Exchange

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