Alex talks of huge opportunities for North East construction at CIOB “Real Face of Construction” launch

Stockton North MP and Shadow Housing Minister, Alex Cunningham, a meeting of leading construction industry professionals in Parliament that industry opportunities needed to be taken across the country in places like the North East if people across the country were to benefit.

He was speaking at the launch of the Chartered Institute of Building’s (CIOB) “Real Face of Construction 2020” report which examined the social and economic performance of the construction industry and ways to maximise its value.

The report seeks to raise awareness of the construction industry’s economic reach which officially accounts for approximately 6% of output, and provides employment for 2.3 million people. However, the narrow definition ignores the work of architects, engineers, planners, project managers and quantity surveyors, as well as the manufacturers dedicated to the industry and many other firms that support the sector such as builders’ merchants and plant hire firms. A broader definition of the industry to include these would suggest an industry nearly double of that officially recorded by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The report also demonstrated the wide differences in regional performance and output that have occurred since 2013, indicating the need for careful, joined-up policy making at a local, regional and national level.

Speaking at the event, Alex said:

The CIOB’s “Real Face of Construction 2020” report shows that the North East, which is the smallest construction market of any English region. Yet we are seeing multi-million pound investment into projects such as the MGT Teesside’s £650 million Tees Renewable Energy Plant and the Teesside University’s £300 million ten-year investment programme. These projects provide an opportunity to invest in local talent and grow the industry in the North East. 

We need a highly skilled and professional construction industry in order to take advantage of the huge opportunities that exist in the region. I also recognise that we need to make a concerted effort to attract new people to the sector. There is a huge array of careers in the industry, from bricklaying to carpentry right through to construction management and digital design; and each of these roles are hugely important for transforming people’s lives.

Caroline Gumble, Chief Executive of the CIOB, said

The quality of our built environment affects every member of society; our work influences productivity and wellbeing, creating the homes, hospitals, schools, workplaces and infrastructure essential for a good quality of life. We are aware of the impact, both positive and negative, that construction projects can generate, and the purpose of our report is to educate policy makers on the need to work in partnership, utilising our industry more effectively, particularly at a regional level, to rebalance the economy and offer people a quality career in the sector.