The George Osborne has delivered his to the , which includes the Government’s Growth Review Phase II and the National Infrastructure Plan.
The statement confirmed the plan to unlock up to £20 billion of private investment through signing a Memorandum of Understanding with two groups of UK pension funds, an additional £5 billion of infrastructure spending in this Spending Review period, and commitments to £5 billion of capital projects in the next Spending Review period. In addition, the Government is supporting around a further £1 billion of investment by Network Rail.
To make the UK’s infrastructure fit for the 21st century, the Government has published its National Infrastructure Plan 2011. The plan sets out a critical analysis of the state of the UK’s infrastructure and sets out a pipeline of over 500 infrastructure projects.
The key measures in the National Infrastructure Plan include:
- introducing a new approach to financing infrastructure, by leveraging £20 billion of private investment from pension funds;
- giving local authorities more flexibility to support major infrastructure by considering local borrowing to fund the Northern Line extension to Battersea, and exploring new sources of revenue, such as options for tolling on the A14.
- investing over £1 billion to tackle areas of congestion and improve the national road network, including £270 million for two new managed motorway schemes at congested times on the M3 and M6.
- investing more than £1.4 billion in railway infrastructure and commuter links, including £270 million for a rail link between Oxford and Bedford and £390 million on enhancement and renewal works to improve stations and infrastructure.
- investing £100 million to create up to ten ‘super-connected cities’ across the UK, with 80-100 megabits per second broadband and city-wide high-speed mobile coverage.
The Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander, will chair a new cabinet committee on infrastructure, to push through the delivery of the top 40 priority projects and programmes that are critical for growth.
The second phase of the Government’s Growth Review includes the following 'reforms':
- creating a £20 billion National Loan Guarantee Scheme, to lower the cost of loans to small businesses, and a £1 billion Business Finance Partnership, which will lend to mid-sized businesses and small and medium sized businesses in the UK through non-bank channels.
- increasing the Regional Growth Fund by £1 billion to provide ongoing support to grow the private sector in areas currently dependent on the public sector.
- an extra £600 million to fund 100 additional Free Schools, and an additional £600 million to deliver an additional 40,000 school places.
- introducing a new build mortgage indemnity scheme which will help up to 100,000 families to buy their own home, and launching a new £400 million Get Britain Building investment fund to progress stalled developments.
- providing £45 million of support to UK firms wishing to export, doubling from 25,000 to 50,000 the number of SMEs supported, and making similar support available to 500 mid-sized businesses.
- making 100 per cent capital allowances available in six Enterprise Zones (Black Country, Humber, Liverpool, North Eastern, Sheffield, and Tees Valley).
- making available around £250 million from 2013 to support energy intensive industries manage the costs of electricity, including increasing the relief from the climate change levy on electricity for Climate Change Agreement participants to 90 per cent.
- an additional £200 million for science capital investment.
- investing £55m into the Strategic Rail Freight Network to help deliver schemes that remove bottlenecks and improve capability and longer term connectivity to the UK’s major ports.
- giving a bigger role to businesses in purchasing vocational training programmes. In the New Year employers will be invited to bid for a share of a new £250 million government fund. This will route public investment directly to employers.
- taking decisive action to remove barriers to hiring by making reforms to streamline employment law.
- investing £10 million over five years from 2013-14 in Project Enthuse, matched by investment from the Wellcome Trust, to improve the quality of science teaching in schools
- announcing how the Government will maximise the value of public sector data.
- Osborne's Autumn Statement - what it means for your business (simplybusiness.co.uk)
- National News: Osborne to make autumn statement (coventrytelegraph.net)
- George Osborne's Autumn Statement Key Points (femaleimagination.wordpress.com)
- VIDEO: Osborne statement: Key points (bbc.co.uk)
Latest figures from Office of National Statistics see output down 0.2%.
The construction industry is continuing to feel the squeeze after posting disappointing figures for Q3 output, according to the latest report from the Office of National Statistics (ONS).
Total volume of construction output was 0.2% lower than Q2, with all new work falling by 0.6% in Q3 compared to a 1.1% rise in the previous quarter.
The total volume of construction output in Q3 fell by 1% year-on-year with new work falling by 1.8% and maintenance rising by 0.9%.
Housing suffered the most dramatic falls, with new public housing dropping 8.2% compared to Q2 and a year-on-year fall of 8.9%.
The volume of new private housing work in the third quarter of 2011 fell by 2.5% compared to the previous quarter but was still 0.7% year-on-year.
New infrastructure output was 0.3% lower compared than the previous quarter but still 13.4% higher year-on-year.
Andrew Duncan, managing director of property at Turner & Townsend, said: “These figures are further evidence of the strength of the bad economic headwinds buffeting the construction sector.
“As the Eurozone debt crisis goes from bad to worse, a tidal wave of uncertainty is washing across the Channel, swamping any green shoots that may have sprouted in the second quarter.
“The omens for next year are not good, as the Eurozone saga shows little sign of abating, and the doubt it is sowing risks undermining the fragile progress made by the industry in 2011.”
India and the UK have agreed to work towards a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in areas related to urban development.
India is keen to benefit from experience of UK, said India’s minister of urban development Kamal Nath. The announcement was made following a meeting with UK minister for decentralisation and cities Greg Clark.
The MoU would be aimed at cooperation and deepening the engagement between India and UK in the areas such as land economics, sustainable masterplanning and transport planning. Another area of cooperation would be the sharing of knowledge in the formulation of Public private partnership models.
The challenges of urbanisation in India were huge, said Mr Nath, both in significance and scale. The government of India is keen on bridging the urban infrastructure deficit by benefiting from the wealth of experience of the UK government in the urban sector.
Mr Nath also participated in a meeting of the UK India Urban Infrastructure Group organized by the UK Business Council and UK Trade & Investment. The UK India Urban Infrastructure Group has proposed conducting an urban regeneration scoping study. The above group has also proposed to cooperate in the development of a regeneration masterplan, This could be demonstrated by adopting a satellite town to deploy UK expertise. The meeting was attended by UK companies including Arup, Biwater International, Clifford Chance, JCB, KPMG, Mott MacDonald and Serco.
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) and Suhail Bahwan Group (SBG) of Oman have set up a joint venture whose initial aims include developing business in transporation systems in the fast-growing Indian market.
The company, MHI Engineering & Industrial Projects India Private Limited (MEIP), was set this month. It will undertake business development, design, engineering, procurement, construction management, after-sale services and other roles for industrial and infrastructure projects handled by MHI's Machinery & Steel Infrastructure Systems division. It will start by developing business related to chemical and environmental plants (and transportation systems. Future plans call for MEIP to expand its business coverage to include the Middle East and Africa.
The initial capital of MEIP is about US$20m (£12.5m), with heavy machinery manufacturer MHI holding 51% and SBG owning 49%. SBG encompasses more than 40 companies engaged in a businesses including engineering and construction and the operation and maintenance of desalination and power plants.
Source: The Construction Index
Mott MacDonald has been commissioned to carry out prefeasibility studies for a proposed high speed rail service between Delhi, Agra, Lucknow, Varanasi and Patna in India.
The capital value of the high speed rail corridor is anticipated to be about INR 1100bn (£15bn).
The appointment by Indian Railways Construction Company (IRCON) International is on behalf of India’s Ministry of Railways.
India’s demand for public transport has been growing at around 10% a year over the last decade but the development of the country’s public transport infrastructure has lagged behind in comparison. The government’s Vision 2020 development plan is being introduced to rectify this imbalance and envisages the implementation of four high speed rail projects, one in each region. There are also plans for a further eight high-speed corridors to connect commercial, tourist and pilgrimage hubs in India.
Mott MacDonald will help to identify key issues for development of the project on a public-private partnership basis. This will include reviewing all technical aspects of the property and the corridor infrastructure development. It will also involve analysis of operational and business requirements, including forecasting ridership figures, costs and benefits analysis and development of a planning and implementation schedule as well as an organisational structure for taking the project forward.
“High speed rail would position India for future growth and economic development and spur tourism,” said Mott MacDonald’s project director Gaurav Srivastava. “There is an untapped, potentially huge market in India for premium transport services, which combine speed, safety and comfort.”
Mott MacDonald’s report is due for completion towards the end of this year.
Source: The Construction index
Yechte Consulting finalises a series of renders for a residential conversion in Luxembourg.
Deal involves construction of the Surrey Quays to Clapham Junction line.
Birse Metro has been awarded a £75m contract by Transport for London to build the final part of the London Overground rail network that will orbit the capital.
Birse, which is Balfour Beatty’s London transport division, will construct the remainder of the Surrey Quays to Clapham Junction link by the end of 2012.
Completion of the line will allow passengers to travel around London without needing to head into the centre. While most of the extension will run along existing National Rail lines, a new stretch of track is required to link services at Surrey Quays with the existing railway at Old Kent Road.
A link between Dalston Junction station and Highbury & Islington stations opened recently, connecting the northern end of the overground network with the Richmond to Stratford line.
Commenting on the contract award Mark Hearne, head of Birse Metro, said:
“Birse Metro is happy to continue working with Transport for London following the recent successful delivery of the extension to Highbury & Islington.
“With the support of Balfour Beatty Rail and working in close partnership with Transport for London we will help to deliver the project within the tight time-scales and budget to improve this key transport link for those living and working within this area of south London.”
London mayor Boris Johnson, added: “This small but incredibly significant stretch of track will be the final section of a mighty wheel of overground services around the capital.
“The improvements it will bring are precisely why I made a strong case to the government for the extra funding needed to make this project a reality.”
1,000 people go as multi-disciplinary giant boasts it will beat profit forecasts.
Atkins has announced that it has lopped 1,000 people from its payroll in the past six months.
The number of staff at the business jumped by just over 3,000 to 18,500 after it completed the acquisition of US design and engineering consultancy PBSJ last October. The Florida-based business has now been rebranded Atkins in North America.
But in a trading update issued today (Wednesday), the firm said it had reduced headcount to around 17,500. A spokesman said the cuts had come across all parts of the business.
There was better news, however, when it said pre-tax profits for the year ending March 2011 would be ahead of market expectations, which had forecast profits of between £88 and £97 million. Last year it made a pre-tax profit of £96.6 million.
The firm, which is headed by chief executive Keith Clarke, said trading in the UK was still challenging but added it was benefiting from increased activity in the Middle East. It also announced that it had begun recovering client payments in the region for services it had previously provided.
It is due to unveil its final results in June.
“Whopping Bubble” – A Technosphere by James Law Cybertecture will be launched shortly as the centrepiece of eight-square-mile Dubai's Technopark, an information technology park currently under construction in the heart of the emirate's industrial zone. The building will be an iconic symbol and will shine as a crown jewel of the Technopark city, hence the name ‘Technosphere’. Its innovative globe shape differs it from the conventional buildings, and is likely to attract tourists.
This Technosphere is designed by famous architect James Law from James Law Cybertecture. He is well-known for his work in ‘Cybertecture‘, which is a combination of advanced technologies, architecture, and multimedia experiences for users.
Replica of the Earth
This sustainable spherical building replicates the earth as a structural concept and also reflects the state of our planet in current and future times. Inside the eco-sphere is an entire world which serves as a vehicle to explore the issues of self-sustaining life on a smaller level.
Sustainable Techniques of Technos
Constructed as a mixed-use building, technosphere provides office and residential space as well as a hotel and public courtyards. Technosphere would be a carbon-neutral building to live and work. Technosphere will follow many sustainable technologies and energy-saving systems to lower the building’s carbon footprint.
The Technosphere has several key technology systems and architectural spaces that will enable the building to generate a self breathing environment. Technosphere will also be provided with water recycling and air-purifying (or “self-breathing”) gardens as highlighted components. This living, breathing building operates in a similar fashion to the Earth itself, providing energy, recycling water, and providing sustenance to its occupants
An intelligently distributed array of sky gardens for offices and hotel not only gives a outdoor terrace advantage to the occupants but also provide passive solar shielding from the sun to regulate the interior temperature and reduce the energy needed to artificially to heat or cool the building. The natural green plantation of the sky garden filters the air to contribute fresh oxygen to the indoor environment.
The water recycling system will minimize the use and wastage of water in this vast building.