‘The construction sector in the UK does not speak with one voice, and fails to lobby effectively in the run up to both the Budget and the Autumn Statement.’ This was said in confidence by a senior HM Treasury official to me and others this week.
The construction sector is responsible for 8% of UK GDP and employment. Yet too often we see housebuilders pitched against product manufacturers (eg expensive window frames), architects pitched against housebuilders (eg poor design standards), clients pitched against architects (eg low collaboration skills), and product manufacturers pitched against clients (eg inability to plan orders beyond next week). Not a happy circle. I exaggerate, but not so much.
A Lobby Is Needed
There is clearly a major political battle underway within the UK government leading up to the Budget on 20 March on whether to restore or even increase public sector capital budgets for economic and social infrastructure (eg flood defences, social housing) which would be funded by extra borrowing through government bonds.
Whatever the reasons are for the reported failure of the construction sector to lobby effectively so far, it is not due in my view to any shortage of the various national construction bodies, boards, councils, associations and suchlike.
But frankly speaking, maybe some big and prickly egos have to just stand together now and speak with one voice for the greater good.