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Report slams government over missed targets

Newly-named OBE Michael Ankers, the chief executive of the Construction Products Association, has slammed the government for its failure to hit targets that could help the construction industry and the country out of recession.
Report slams government over missed targets
The warning comes in the week of the publication of the Construction Products Association's annual report called 'Achievable Targets; is government delivering?', released June 16 .

The report, which monitors delivery of the government's investment plans in the built environment in six areas (education, health, social housing, road, rail and water infrastructure) finds too many of the government targets have been missed, abandoned or replaced.

The report's key findings are:

·Despite social housing being a key priority, the government is unlikely to meet its national target of delivering 45,000 new social homes per year by 2011

·It is increasing unlikely that the government will meet its target of ensuring 95% of homes meet the Decent Homes standard by 2010

·The Building Schools for the Future programme is running considerably behind schedule.

·Proposals for investment in the health sub-sector beyond 2010 are very patchy. There is considerable concern that the enormous improvements achieved recently will be undermined unless there is a clear future output and delivery programme.

This week, Michael Ankers was granted an OBE in the Queen's Birthday honours list for 'services to the construction industry'. The chief executive said he welcomes the government's investment in capital spending per annum made over the last decade, which increased from £19.4 billion to £48.3 billion today.

He said 'This funding has delivered significant improvements in some key areas but as we approach and pass the general election, short term expedience must not be used as a substitute for long term vision.'

In the past the Ten Year Transport Plan was abandoned and the Building Schools for the Future programme which proved optimistic and has been revised three times.

Ankers said: 'Given the dramatic economic events of the last 18 months, cutting capital spending could be seen as the 'easy' option when it comes to trying to rebalance the public finances. But remember, this has been tried before following previous recessions and the apparent short term benefits have resulted in long term problems that have cost the country dearly, both socially and economically'.

He added: 'The construction industry is fundamental in helping the UK restore its economic health but it is also facing its worst downturn in living memory. The health of both the economy and the construction industry are inextricably linked and re-establishing the country's economic prosperity is paramount. Therefore failure to invest in education facilities, transport infrastructure and homes will only serve to delay our recovery longer and will undermine the skills and ability of the construction industry for many years to come.'

The Construction Products Association represents the UK's manufacturers and suppliers of construction products, components and fittings. The Association acts as the voice of the construction products sector and accounts for 40% of total construction output.
19 June 2009

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