Bill Bolsover CBE: government must be bold with the Green Deal.

CPA urges government to bring business to the heart of localism

Published:  13 April, 2011

Speaking to an audience of more than 450 senior industry leaders and government officials at the Construction Products Association's Annual Lunch in London, chairman Bill Bolsover CBE, said business needed to be brought to the heart of the localism agenda.

“Without business, local economies would not prosper; employment would increase and the facilities that we as citizens want to see in our communities would not be delivered.

“Only in the Plan for Growth was there recognition that business actually has a role in the development of neighbourhood plans. Government must reinforce the importance of development as a platform for the economic success of communities and not allow localism to develop into a 'nimby's charter' where articulate local minorities have the opportunity to stand in the way of those things that will lead to sustainable economic growth.”

Mr Bolsover went on the say the Government must be “bold with the Green Deal. Without a major refurbishment programme of our existing building stock, we will never meet our carbon reduction commitments. But the Green Deal will not work without some form of additional incentive.

“It would be bizarre to continue to charge the full rate of VAT on those measures that might qualify for the Green Deal, such as insulation, double glazing, and more efficient central heating boilers. Reducing VAT on these kinds of products would, at a single stroke, stimulate the take up of a key government policy and drive forward economic growth through the economic activity and jobs it would create.”

Mr Bolsover went on to state that government should “review how we measure carbon. The targets we set ourselves are based on the carbon we emit, not the carbon we consume.

“Here in the UK, as in the rest of western Europe and North America, while we point to reductions in our carbon emissions, the amount of carbon we actually consume has increased. Between 1990 and 2004, carbon consumption in the UK has increased by 30%.

“What we have done is to outsource our carbon to Asia and other countries from where we have increasingly imported our manufactured goods. This cannot be right and is only made worse by imposing on UK industry a carbon floor price – a decision that has to be reversed.

"Government needs to start to measure the carbon content of the products we use and not just the emissions that are emitted from our factories.”

The CPA chairman went on to urge the Government to hold its nerve on the nuclear programme despite the tragic events in Japan last month.

“The events in Japan have inevitably led governments around the world to reflect on their own nuclear programmes. But UK is not exposed to the same threat of natural disasters as Japan.

“Technology has moved on – the technology being used at Fukushima plants was developed at a time when we still didn't require people to wear seat belts in cars.

"In the UK, there is no viable alternative to nuclear – we don't have a viable Plan B. Without it, UK would not be a place where industry saw a sustainable future for investment.”

In other parts of his speech, Mr Bolsover referred to the enormous success of the Olympics project and the exciting innovations that have been developed by product manufacturers and suppliers to deliver this. He urged the industry to take the lessons from the Olympics to other construction projects in the UK and to promote the strengths of the UK industry overseas.

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