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Cameron told don’t cut it, get more out of what's being spent

“Don’t cut public service spending, tackle procurement waste to get more from what is being spent” - that’s the message from the chief executive of the SEC group.
Cameron told don’t cut it, get more out of what
Professor Rudi Klein, chief executive of the Specialist Engineering Contractors’ (SEC) group hopes Britain’s new Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition government will embrace a cooperative spirit and work with industry to eke out waste in the public sector procurement process.

Britain's new prime minister David Cameron plans to drive through the Conservative's pledge to accelerate efforts to reduce the budget deficit –by making £6 billion of public spending reductions this year.

Professor Klein said: “The new government must avoid simply reducing capital spend in public services which the industry relies on. Growth in construction is pretty much nil. We haven’t had significant growth in the industry for the last two and a half years. If the government reduces capital spend, the industry would be very unhappy. Our message to the government is to maintain current levels of spend. We should avoid an increase in insolvencies, job losses and less investment in low carbon technologies. We can deliver more for less and achieve it by taking out waste from the system”.

The National Audit Office report in 2005 stated £2.6 billion could be saved annually in the construction sector by adopting best practices in procurement.

The SEC chief executive argues Cameron can acheive carbon reductions (a Con/Lib aim) if he encourages industry to work in more integrated teams to cut out waste.

Klein added: 'Make financing of projects available on the condition that those seeking contracts work in more integrated teams. You could also cut waste by involving the building services industry early in the design stage of a project'. He added: 'Pre-qualification schemes cost the industry £40 million a year'.

Liberal democrat Vince Cable has been named as Britain’s new Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills.

Having written to David Cameron and the Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg just before the election, Rudi Klein hopes to secure a meeting with the secretary of state for business and the chief construction advisor within the next 3-4 weeks.

In relation to the departed business secretary Peter Mandelson, Klein said the former government's support for best practice had been strong. He said: “We got the commitment from the previous government for fair payment (down to 10 days and then 5 days). The appointment of a chief construction advisor was welcomed and there is a new requirement in the public sector that fair payment becomes a contractual requirement in all public sector contracts”.

Klein added: “Given the fact that there was cross- party support for a chief construction advisor, Paul Morrell’s job should stay. His role is pivotal to drive best practice. He will need the resources to make an impact. He can’t do it alone. If his resources are taken away, he’ll become ineffectual”.

Cameron's emergency budget is expected to be announced within the next two months.
12 May 2010

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