Building the future - from Rugby

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The government’s top advisor on the construction industry has visited Rugby to learn from a well-established firm.

Peter Hansford went to the head office of Stepnell in Lawford Road last week to discuss how the construction sector can work with the governmentto stimulate growth, create jobs, encourage innovation and reduce carbon emissions.

Mr Hansford toured a Stepnell construction site and met construction workers, project teams and West Midlands representatives from the National Federation of Builders to hear their views and strategies for regional growth.

Stepnell managing director Mark Wakeford said: “As one of the oldest construction companies in the West Midlands, we welcome Peter’s visit and the opportunity to work with the Government to create new strategies to generate long-term industry growth and job creation.

“This meeting enables representatives of the West Midlands construction community to contribute their views on the challenges and opportunities our industry faces and the strategies we need to adopt at both a regional and national level to create a world-beating industry that’s prosperous, competitive and fit for the future.”

The visit comes after figures released last week by the Office of National Statistics show construction output fell by more than £9 billion in the fourth quarter of 2012 compared to the same period in 2011, a decline of nine per cent. Last week’s fact-finding session relates to government business secretary Vince Cable’s plans to develop a long-term industrial strategy for the construction sector which will create business confidence for investment and growth.

Mr Hansford has been asked to progress the government’s Industrial Strategy for Construction. The strategy, which will be launched in the summer, will provide a plan for the construction industry and government to work together to make British construction world-class. Mr Hansford said: ““It’s clear construction is facing challenging times. However, there is no quick fix, particularly in regards to up-skilling the workforce, which is why Government is developing its strategy for construction.”