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Transforming construction would provide multi-billion boost to 'levelling-up' plans

  • New research by Mace shows that transforming construction could boost the UK Government’s levelling up plans with billions of pounds of additional investment.  

  • Innovative construction ‘hubs’ could create 124,000 green jobs and drive £4.9bn of investment in the Government’s target ‘levelling up’ areas.  

  • The ‘build back better’ infrastructure pipeline could in turn be delivered faster and greener – saving £2.8bn a year that could be invested to further boost disadvantaged areas. 

The latest report from Mace, the global consultancy and construction company, outlines the critical role that construction has to play in the delivery of the Government’s levelling-up agenda and the UK’s journey to Net Zero Carbon. 

The UK suffers from some of the worst regional economic inequality in the developed world, with deprived areas across the country suffering from a historic lack of investment, outdated physical and digital infrastructure - in turn driving poor productivity and health outcomes.

Alongside this, a historic lack of investment in innovation and transformation in the construction sector means that, too often, infrastructure and construction in the UK is still delivered using out-dated methods, resulting in slower and more costly programmes. 

Published today, ‘The new normal – levelling up in a post-COVID world’ highlights the significant opportunities on offer to drive forward that agenda if the construction industry is able to transform its delivery model and push for widespread adoption of a ‘construction to production’ approach. 

By adopting greener, faster and more innovative production style approaches, Mace’s report suggests that the UK could save £2.8bn annual on our current pipeline of delivery - enough to triple the investment going into the North West region every year or increase tenfold the investment into the East Midlands.

Alongside a number of recommendations to boost productivity and investment, the report puts forward a bold vision of a regional network of construction manufacturing hubs, focussing new growth in the areas that need it most. The modelling suggests that such an approach could create up to 124,000 green jobs in logistics and manufacturing in target areas, accelerating growth in regions such as the East Midlands and the North West. 

Lord O'Neill of Gatley, Vice Chair of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership, said: 
 
“The much-needed economic recovery from COVID must account for existing regional inequalities across the UK. We mustn’t miss this opportunity to rebalance our economy properly; rather than replicating past mistakes and leaving the North still unfairly left behind.
 
“The construction industry is a cornerstone of the regional economy, a huge growth multiplier and has a critical role to play in levelling up. This report lays clear the scope of opportunity on offer – but only if Government and industry can work together to make it happen.” 
 
Mark Reynolds, Mace’s Group Chief Executive, said:

“By using innovative methodologies as a catalyst, construction can super-charge the levelling up agenda. 

“If the Government is to deliver its ambitious plans for levelling up the UK economy, we must see a radical transformation in how our industry operates. We cannot expect radically different outcomes if we adopt the same approaches we always have. To see real change we must be prepared to do things differently.  

“It is vital that the industry and government consider the findings of this research and place ‘construction-to-production’ at the heart of accelerating the levelling-up of the UK’s regions. By introducing innovative construction hubs, we can create much needed green jobs and generate billions in new investment, transforming opportunities for people in the country’s most deprived areas.”

The new normal - how we level up in a post-COVID world

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