Prime Minister praises UK infrastructure boost

Prime Minister praises UK infrastructure boostThe Prime Minister David Cameron visited the Thames Valley region yesterday to highlight the government’s commitment to upgrading Britain’s rail infrastructure and boost the trades.

As part of its long-term economic plan, the government is committed to improving train journeys for hundreds of thousands of people as well as helping local businesses by stimulating economic growth.

On a visit to one of the Great Western upgrade projects in Berkshire, the Prime Minister saw for himself the latest works to remove a bottleneck near Reading station.

The Reading Elevated Railway is a part of the £850 million improvements to the Reading network, which is one of the busiest in the country.

The 2 kilometre long elevated railway project, which has a workforce of 400 people, is running a year ahead of schedule and under budget.

It will help make journeys quicker and more comfortable for hundreds of thousands of hardworking people and businesses as well as increasing capacity to meet the expected rise in passenger numbers in the future.

Speaking earlier this week on visiting rail and road projects, as part of a week focused on infrastructure, Mr Cameron said: Ensuring Britain has first class infrastructure is a crucial part of our long term economic plan: supporting business, creating jobs and providing a better future for hardworking people.

“As a crucial part of our long-term economic plan, this government is backing business with better infrastructure so that more jobs and opportunities are created for hardworking people, meaning more financial security and peace of mind for families.”

The ongoing work to upgrade a section of the Great Western represents just one part of a £7 billion programme of investment in the line which is the highest of any rail route in the UK.

Lovell gets £11m home development scheme

Lovell gets £11m home development schemeHousing developer Lovell has signed contracts for an estimated £11 million mixed housing development scheme at the former Brentry Hospital site in Bristol.

The deal will see 79 high-quality houses and apartments built on the five-acre site on Brentry Lane with construction set to start in summer 2014, paving the way for new jobs and boosting the trades.

Benefiting from a prime location in a conservation area close to historic Royal Victoria Park, the site has easy access to Bristol city centre, the motorway network and the Cribbs Causeway shopping complex.

Sixty-four of the new homes will be for open market sale by Lovell while 15 homes will be for social rent and shared ownership through Knightstone Housing Association.

The land was acquired by Lovell from NHS Property Services with planning consent for up to 80 homes.

The scheme will create 38 two-, three- and four-bedroom new-build houses and 20 new-build apartments for open market sale.

Lovell regional director David Gough said: “We’re delighted to have acquired this site which enjoys a superb location and we look forward to building this exciting development of high-specification stylish new-build houses and apartments.

“As well as creating much-needed open market properties for sale and new affordable homes, we are also excited to be helping Phoenix House ‘rise’ again through its refurbishment into brand-new apartments.”

Caroline Hughes, regional development manager at Knightstone, said: “We’re thrilled to be working with Lovell on this development, bringing much needed new affordable homes to Bristol, including new family homes. Our shared ownership properties will help people who are struggling to buy homes of their own on the open market.”

UK shale gas investment to support 64,000 jobs

UK shale gas investment to support 64,000 jobsA shale gas supply chain report published by the government today sets out that UK industry sectors could benefit from UK shale development and new jobs.

The report forecasts that the UK shale gas supply chain will bring a potential £33 billion benefit to the UK economy and over 64,000 jobs will be creates in the trades.

It also projects that a flourishing shale gas industry in the UK would lead to the employment of over thousands of people at peak employment, most of them in the supply chain.

The shale gas industry has accepted the recommendations of the MacKay/Stone report to monitor the carbon footprint of domestic shale gas with effects on the environment.

Following the announcement today, Business and Energy Minister Michael Fallon revealed £2 million competition by the Technology Strategy Board to support innovative ideas to produce or explore for shale gas, particularly focused on projects reducing environmental impact.

Business and Energy Minister Michael Fallon said: “This report shows the huge prize at stake for the UK in terms of jobs and manufacturing in the supply chain for our onshore oil and gas industry.

“Shale gas has the potential to kickstart a whole new industry, building on the world leading expertise the UK already has in the energy sector. There will be significant opportunities across the steel, manufacturing and engineering industries as shale develops.

“This government is fully committed to ensuring the UK not only benefits from the energy security shale gas could provide but also maximising the economic benefit across the country. It’s time to get ready for shale.”

Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey said: “We must explore the benefits and investment shale gas may bring but that should not come at the expense of the environment.

“Over the past year the scientific evidence has allowed us to conclude that shale production can be managed effectively as long as best practices are implemented and enforced.

“Today, by fully accepting the recommendations of the Stone/MacKay report, we are setting out how we will regulate and monitor shale gas keeping our carbon emissions to a minimum.”

House building set to start on new homes in Crawley

Building IndustryWork can start on building thousands of new homes at Crawley’s next neighbourhood that will create jobs in the trades and boost the construction industry.

A consortium of Taylor Wimpey, Persimmon Homes, Crawley Borough Council and the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) are the driving force behind Crawley’s brand new neighbourhood which already has outline planning permission for 1,900 new homes.

As part of the deal the HCA is making its land available to Taylor Wimpey and Persimmon with no up-front cost in order that significant and essential infrastructure works can be developed.

Ken Glendinning, Head of Area, said: “Part of our role is to unlock public land to free it up where we can for new housing. This site is a really good example of where Government land can be used to enable the private sector to get on and build homes, simply by working in partnership and taking a longer term view on costs and values.”

More than 200 homes are set to be built during the first phase. A total of 40% of the housing across the whole site will be made available to those on the housing needs list; the rest will be a mix of private sector homes. Crawley Borough Council will be delivering the affordable homes themselves as part of the agreement.

Peter Browning, Director of Transformation and Housing, said: “Plans for this new neighbourhood have taken a long time to get to this stage so I’m delighted that work is soon to start. It’s been a complicated process but by working together we’re bringing forward much needed housing and infrastructure for Crawley.

“Crawley Borough Council is acquiring more than 530 affordable homes across the four phases of this development and I’m delighted with that;. It represents a six per cent increase in the council’s current 8,100 housing stock, all of which will benefit local people most in need.”

Financial boost to breathe new life into housing developments

Financial boost to breathe new life into housing developmentsLocal leaders will be able to bid for a share of £50 million to invest in infrastructure projects that will see the building of new homes and create new jobs.

The investment will be made available in 2015 to 2016 through the Local Growth Fund to unlock locally-led housing developments of between 250 and 1,499 units which are struggling to move forward.

This is on top of a further £1 billion fund, available as loans to developers to get their large-scale housing developments off the ground.

The scheme comes alongside wider plans to regenerate some of the country’s most run-down estates, delivering thousands of new homes in central London in the process.

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said: “We’ve delivered 420,000 new homes since 2010 – including 170,000 new affordable homes. I’m determined we go even further.

“Today’s multi-million pound package will help get workers back onto locally-led housing developments that had been stalled with the end of the unsustainable housing boom in 2008, and deliver the homes and local growth communities want to see.

“But I also don’t want those stuck on rundown estates to be forgotten. That’s why we’re also investing a further £150 million to breathe new life into those areas, and deliver homes that residents can be proud of for years to come.”

Housing Minister Kris Hopkins said: “We’re doing all we can to get the country building, and provide developers with a chance to get on site and start building local housing schemes that are vital for supporting local economic growth.

“Today’s £50 million fund will help deliver the infrastructure local communities need to support new homes, and comes on top of the £1 billion we’re making available to unlock large-scale sites that stalled at the end of the unsustainable housing boom.

“This substantial investment will lead to thousands of new homes across the country, and deliver new career opportunities in the growing construction industry.”

Government set to create 8,500 green jobs

Government set to create 8,500 green jobsEight major renewable electricity projects have been unveiled as part of the government’s electricity reforms, giving a massive boost to green growth and green jobs.

By 2020, the projects will provide up to £12 billion of private sector investment, supporting 8,500 jobs and boosting the green economy.

Once built, the successful projects will contribute around 15TWh or 14% of the renewable electricity we expect to come forward by 2020, helping to put the UK well on the way to meeting the UK’s renewable energy target.

The projects have been offered under Contracts for Difference (CfD), which form part of Government’s world leading Electricity Market Reform programme.

They include offshore wind farms, coal to biomass conversions and a dedicated biomass plant with combined heat and power.

Energy and Climate Change Secretary Edward Davey said: “These contracts for major renewable electricity projects mark a new stage in Britain’s green energy investment boom.

“By themselves they will bring green jobs and growth across the UK, but they are a significant part of our efforts to give Britain cleaner and more secure energy.

“These are the first investments from our reforms to build the world’s first low carbon electricity market – reforms which will see competition and markets attract tens of billions of pounds of vital energy investment whilst reducing the costs of clean energy to consumers.

“Record levels of energy investment are at the forefront of the Government’s infrastructure programme and are filling the massive gap we inherited. It’s practical reforms like these that will keep the lights on and tackle climate change, by giving investors more certainty.”

PM and Chancellor welcome £36bn infrastructure projects

PM and Chancellor welcome £36bn infrastructure projectsMore than 200 construction projects are set to start in the next two years that will create 150,000 construction jobs and boost the trades industry.

The Prime Minister and the Chancellor visited a transport infrastructure project yesterday to see how the government is helping businesses with investment in better infrastructure and encouraging economic growth.

More infrastructure projects are also due to be completed this year, including major roads such as the M6 J10A-13, Nottingham tram extension, Heathrow Terminal 2 upgrade and Gwynt y Môr offshore wind farm, which is currently the largest in construction anywhere in Europe.

The projects due to start construction this year are part of £36 billion of planned investment in infrastructure across the country that could support over 150,000 jobs in construction and many thousands more in other sectors following completion.

Prime Minister David Cameron said: “Ensuring Britain has first class infrastructure is a crucial part of our long term economic plan: supporting business, creating jobs and providing a better future for hardworking people.

“As a crucial part of our long-term economic plan, this government is backing business with better infrastructure so that more jobs and opportunities are created for hardworking people, meaning more financial security and peace of mind for families.”

Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne said: “As part of our long term economic plan we are investing in infrastructure around the country to create a more balanced, resilient economy.

“Because of the tough decisions we have taken in day to day spending, we can prioritise public investment where it is most needed and create the right conditions for private investment in infrastructure where it brings value for the taxpayer.

“So this year over 200 new projects worth an estimated £36 billion are due to start, creating thousands of jobs, securing future growth and delivering the world class infrastructure Britain deserves.”

£120m boost for local business infrastructure

Enterprise ZonesCommunities Secretary Eric Pickles today announced a £120 million infrastructure investment plan to bring businesses and jobs to the Sheffield area on a visit to the local enterprise zone.

Eric Pickles visited Markham Vale as cabinet ministers explained how the government’s long-term economic plan will start delivering more than 200 infrastructure projects this year.

The Sheffield Enterprise Zone will turn £25 million of government funding into £94 million more of private sector investment so they can lay down the infrastructure needed for its premier sites at Markham Vale and Rotherham to attract new businesses to the area.

The enterprise zone can now expand its business park plans by 81 acres, widen Erin Road, put in place utility infrastructure and construct 100,000 square feet of new industrial buildings. When complete the site will have capacity to bring an estimated 2,100 jobs by 2022.

Eric Pickles said: “This enterprise zone is a great example of how our economic plan is rebalancing the economy and transforming once dormant industrial sites into job creators once again.

“Today’s cash injection will help the enterprise zone pull in over 3 times as much in private sector investment, giving it the essential foundations to grow, create jobs for local people and continue the area’s proud manufacturing tradition.”

James Newman, Chairman of the Sheffield City Region LEP, said: “Our continued investment in vital infrastructure, like roads and drains, is helping to bring interest from new investors, which means more jobs and more economic growth in the Sheffield city region.

“Since the launch of our enterprise zone in 2012, 18 new companies have located to our enterprise zone with 345 jobs already created on site and around 300 set to be created in the coming months.”

Councillor Joan Dixon, Derbyshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Jobs, Economy and Transport, said: “Markham Vale has a key role to play in helping to build a strong local economy in Derbyshire that creates jobs, attracts new businesses and provides a future for our young people.”

£4m boost for home energy efficiency

The Scottish GovernmentA further £4 million for the Home Renewables Loan Scheme to help householders cut their energy bills and help the trades has been announced by First Minister Alex Salmond.

The scheme gives individuals access to interest free loans of up to £10,000 for a range of renewable heat and electricity home technologies that will also boost the trades industry.

Since April 2011, the scheme has helped reduce dependency on fossil fuels and has allowed householders across Scotland access to cleaner, greener energy.

The First Minister made the announcement while visiting the Western Isles as part of a series of travelling cabinets.

Mr Salmond visited the Smith family home on the Isle of Lewis which is one of 53 homes in the Western Isles which has benefitted from a Home Renewables Loan.

During the visit the First Minister, said: “Scotland is going greener and the wide take up of small scale renewables appliances in households will be vital for us to become a truly low carbon economy. There has never been a better time to save energy and go green.

“Since April 2011, more than 1,188 loans have been issued to householders across Scotland and in particular more than 53 loans across the Western Isles, islanders are clearly leading the charge in choosing efficient green energy.

“I am delighted to allocate further funding of £4 million to this successful interest free loans scheme, so that even more Scots like the Smith family can reap the benefits of low carbon technologies, cut energy bills and emissions, support jobs and the local economy.”

Skanska to create 1,500 new jobs in UK

Skanska to create 1,500 new jobs in UKSkanska, one of the UK’s biggest construction companies, has announced to create around 1,500 jobs in the UK during the next two to three years.

The recruitment drive comes on the back of an increase in workload across several sectors, including major commercial building in London and projects for health and pharmaceutical clients.

There will be a focus on construction, energy and infrastructure contracts that will be required to complete major rail, water, building and road works by the company.

President and CEO at Skanska UK, Mike Putnam, said: “With more focus on infrastructure investment, we have seen our visible pipeline of new work growing strongly during the last nine months, giving us increased confidence about the future,

“Having the right people with the right skills in the right numbers is therefore a priority for us. We are accelerating our recruitment activity significantly across all our operations, to fill roles at all levels of the company and in many parts of the UK.”

Skanska has been involved in several high-profile projects, including building 30 St Mary Axe (The Gherkin) in London, the widening of the M25, infrastructure for the London 2012 Olympic Park and constructing Britain’s greenest public building, Brent Civic Centre.