Monday 14th March 2011 – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Construction SMEs can help rebuild Scotland by creating more jobs, supporting economic growth as well as creating a greener more sustainable economy but only if the Scottish Government acts on three major challenges facing the construction sector, says the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) Scotland.
FMB Scotland’s manifesto, ‘Building for Success’ calls on all politicians to support the building industry by adopting its 21 point plan.
Grahame Barn, Director of FMB Scotland, said:
“We need to get Scotland building again. The construction industry has now entered its fourth year of decline. Yet the building industry in Scotland continues to employ more 190,000 people, representing 7.5% of the total Scottish workforce and account for some £9.5 billion per annum which is approximately 9% of the Scottish economy. Measures to help support construction must be at the forefront of the next Government’s agenda.”
“There are three main challenges facing the next Scottish Government that we want addressed. First, is the urgent need to retrofit our existing homes to help make them greener and more energy efficient. Small building firms can lead the transition to a low carbon economy but only if homeowners are incentivised to make their homes more energy efficient. Second is the need to develop our skills and training. If small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) are to lead the way in making our built environment more energy efficient they will need to upskill to meet the new challenges ahead. Scotland’s politicians can encourage SMEs to train their employees by showing a strong commitment to ambitious retrofit initiatives and reforming public procurement so that only those contractors who employ apprentices are on approved procurement lists for public sector work. Finally, there is now an urgent need to create a new business environment without excessive control, regulation and taxation to allow small building firms to prosper. A step in this direction would be for the Scottish Government to pursue the UK Government on the need for a more competitive tax system to incentivise small business growth.
“Scotland is at an important crossroads because the decisions taken over the next four years will have a profound and lasting impact on the economy. It is essential that after May’s election, ministers support and encourage the important contribution that small building firms make. All that is needed is the political will to ensure we build for success.”