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Thu December 03 2020

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Jeremiah Cable talks down construction's recovery

22 Nov 13 Business secretary Vince Cable cemented his reputation as the government’s Jeremiah yesterday when he talked down the apparent recovery in the construction industry’s fortunes.

Vince Cable
Vince Cable

While survey after survey within the construction industry over the past few months has been recording broader and deeper growth across all sectors, Dr Cable took the opportunity yesterday to add perspective with some cold water.

Speaking at a National Federation of Builders conference, Dr Cable compared the impact of the economic downturn on the industry to a heart attack. He said construction’s 4% year-on-year growth was still 13% below the 2008 peak and the increase in housebuilding to 30,000 homes in April to June 2013 was still 40% below the 2008 peak.

Dr Cable said that construction was a key part of the economy, which is why the government had worked with the industry to produce the Construction 2025 industrial strategy document.

National Federation of Builders chief executive Julia Evans said: "Dr Cable's background, with a father as a joiner, gives him the knowledge and experience to speak about the industry with a passion few in office can match.”

Speaking at the same event, former trade secretary Lord Heseltine took the opportunity to lay into the high number of trade federations that litter the construction industry with little apparent productive output. He said that if there were fewer trade associations, it is likely that they would be more useful to their member companies.

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