The construction industry has given its first reactions to the new coalition government formed by the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats.
The Civil Engineering Contractors Association has called on the new Government to provide more stability in Whitehall.
“The last decade has seen the repeated creation and re-creation of various Government Ministries and the constant movement of ministers. This resulted in two reports in March 2010 – from the Communities and Local Government (CLG) Select Committee and the Transport Select Committee – that highlighted the disruption caused by the constant reshuffling of ministers,” said Rosemary Beales, CECA national director.
“Just as the country and the economy need stable Government, so industry needs stable Government departments. We want to see the remit of the departments settled for as long as possible and we want Ministers to spend more time in post before being moved on.
“At one stage we had four new Construction Ministers in two years between 2006 and 2008.”
Construction Products Association chief executive Michael Ankers said: “It is going to take some time to come to terms with the way the new government will work and how stable the relationships that are being established are.
“This uncertainty could delay the investment decisions in both the public and private sectors, and prolong the construction recession beyond 2010. Manufacturers and suppliers need confidence that the recovery in the housing market will continue and clarity about public sector spending programmes going forward.
“Without this, future investment decisions by companies in the industry will inevitably be put on hold’.
Stephen Ratcliffe, director of the UK Contractors Group said: “The outlook for the industry remains at best uncertain. A big worry is that the inconclusive election result will have an effect on both public sector investment, with more delays and uncertainty, and the wider market because ongoing fiscal policy could be a muddle.
“Rising costs do not help with everybody under pressure, because of the state of the economy, to deliver projects at significantly reduced costs.”
Julia Evans, chief executive of the National Federation of Builders said: “With the construction industry still in recession and continuing to experience higher costs and less work, deep capital spending cuts can only make it more difficult to develop skills and deliver on low carbon building targets.
“It is important to note that none of the major parties pledged to protect construction spending during the election campaign, a sure sign that the industry’s contribution to the UK economy is still undervalued.”