‘Programme for Scotland’ wrong to snub construction

Published date: 06 September 2017

The Scottish Government is unwise to overlook construction in its ‘Programme for Scotland’ given its economic and strategic importance, according to FMB Scotland.

Responding to the Government’s ‘Programme for Scotland’, published today, Gordon Nelson, FMB Scotland Director said “The construction industry is notable by its absence in the Government’s programme for Scotland. The appointment of a new Strategic Board to focus Scotland’s enterprise and skills agencies on supporting the growth of key sectors is welcome but construction seems to have been overlooked. As the second largest industry in Scotland, comprising of more than 48,000 firms and employing 180,000 people, the construction industry is vital to the health of the wider Scottish economy. Indeed, the industry generated a total output of £14.5 billion in 2016.”

Nelson continued: “However, the construction sector’s workforce is ageing. Figures from the Office for National Statistics indicate that over the next decade, close to 20% of the industry’s workforce will retire. Without enough skilled workers, Scotland will struggle to build and refurbish the homes, schools, hospitals and transport infrastructure that Scotland requires to flourish. I am calling on the Scottish Government to reconsider its approach and identify the construction industry as a key sector. We want to work with the new Strategic Board, and the relevant enterprise and skills agencies, to ensure that we are recruiting and developing the skills base that Scotland demands.”

Nelson concluded: “We look forward to seeing more detail on the new National Investment Bank and how it might help small firms grow and prosper. 98% of the construction industry’s employers are small or micro businesses; with many struggling to access the right type of finance. It would be welcome if the National Investment Bank were to step in where the major banks have not been able to provide a solution.”

 

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