The CIOB Policy Team Newsletter - May 2023
May with the CIOB Policy team
Welcome to this edition of CIOB’s policy team newsletter.
This edition includes a sneak peek at our upcoming PPE roundtable, learn about our recent campaign for a retrofitting strategy in Scotland, read about our devolved nation reports for the Real Face of Construction and see our overview of the recent 2023 local elections.
If you have anything you would like to share, we would love to hear from you, so please do get in touch at [email protected].
One thing you need to do...
On Wednesday 24th May, the Chartered Institute of Building and Construction Management magazine conducted a roundtable discussing the lack of access to appropriate fitting PPE for those operating on construction sites. Those who attended the roundtable brought along PPE with them to demonstrate the current shortcomings of PPE provision. Discussions were also around good examples of inclusive and adaptive PPE and looked towards what needs to change.
This roundtable will be forming a larger campaign the CIOB will be running this year highlighting the lack of appropriate PPE available and the changes that need to happen to improve the safety of all people working on-site.
Retrofitting plan for Scotland's draughty homes moves a step closer
CIOB joins construction industry experts on calling for the Scottish Government to develop a long-term, joined up retrofitting strategy.
Read full article here.
Building Up: professional insights from the construction sector in 2023
We are pleased to publish Building Up Wales: Professional insights from the construction sector in 2023. This is the first in a series of new reports focused specifically on bringing to the fore unique issues faced by the construction sectors and built environments of each of the devolved nations of the UK and Ireland.
These reports build on the latest iteration of CIOB’s Real Face of Construction state of the industry report, published in April 2023. Each Building Up report provides an in-depth write-up of roundtables undertaken as part of the Real Face of Construction research. These roundtables gave construction professionals the opportunity to discuss issues and opportunities in the sector, and how Wales’s construction sector needs to adapt to meet current and future demand.
In particular, discussions in Wales identified issues around:
- Public sector construction, and the barriers and delays to projects created by bureaucracy;
- Inflation, and the difficulties organisations face by being locked into contracts, as well as how public bodies in Wales are struggling to adjust in a high-inflation economy;
- The industry’s perception problem and how to overcome it to bring more people into the sector;
- Diversity and inclusion, and how CIOB members are leading the charge for this in the sector;
- What construction companies are doing to become more innovative, and what their investment focuses are;
- Health, safety, and mental wellbeing, and how to foster a safer construction sector for everyone.
Building Up Ireland and Building Up Scotland will follow the Wales report.
You can read the report here.
- Ireland & Northern Ireland
This week we published ‘Building up Ireland: professional insights from the construction sector in 2023’, which is based on members’ input to a round-table we held on 3rd March.This report focuses on Ireland and Northern Ireland specific data, and expands on the relevant section in the recent Real Face of Construction Report. Please feel free to share throughout your network.
This report provides a snapshot of the unique aspects of Ireland and Northern Ireland's construction industry, offering valuable insights into market trends, regulatory frameworks, and future prospects. The report serves as a useful resource for understanding the changing nature of construction sector in Ireland and Northern Ireland and the potential it holds for sustainable economic advancement.
The report focuses on the short, medium, and long term challenges facing the sector, and makes a series of policy recommendations on the basis of the data gathered.
In Northern Ireland engagement with the Belfast Climate Commissioner’s office is continuing, with a follow up meeting – following initial discussions at the time of ‘Flipping the Green Switch’ paper publication, now scheduled for June. This is with a view to presenting the paper to elected members over the summer.
On the legislation front Ireland’s new Land Value Sharing Bill is going through pre-legislative scrutiny in the Committee on Housing, Local Government and Heritage this month. This proposed legislation provides for a new Land Value Sharing (LVS) contribution of 30% on the difference between existing use value and the market value on land zoned for residential development (and, in time, land zoned for industrial and commercial development). We have met with the National Economic and Social Research Council, and the Department of Committee on Housing, Local Government and Heritage to provide briefings on the bill.
It has been a busy month for policy & public affairs in Scotland.
On Thursday, 18 May, we hosted a Retrofit Roundtable event, sponsored by Gordon MacDonald MSP, to discuss challenges to retrofitting and preserving Scotland’s built environment and consider policy solutions to support the industry and the uptake of retrofit projects at the scale and pace needed to meet Scotland’s sustainability objectives.
In addition to hosting this event, we spent further time both inside and outside of parliament advocating on behalf of the built environment sector. On Wednesday, 17 May, we delivered a presentation to the Cross-Party Group on Housing outlining our policy proposals and evidence base for a demolition levy in Scotland, based on our research paper ‘Levelling the playing field, not Scotland’s built environment.’ At the recommendation of CPG Convener, Graham Simpson, MSP, the CPG will be sending a letter to relevant ministers to support our calls for the Scottish Government to undertake a feasibility study on the demolition levy.
From 17th-18th May, we joined industry partners and colleagues just outside of the Scottish Parliament building for a construction skills demonstration event. Part of a collaborative, wider initiative, young people from Edinburgh, Galashiels, Inverkeithing & Dunblane attended the event to receive mini masterclasses in roof slating, stone masonry, electrical installations, sustainable material use, 3D & Thermal Surveying and painting & decoratin
Following on from our evidence submission and oral evidence session to the Senedd’s Climate Change, Environment, and Infrastructure committee last year, and subsequent report of findings published in February, the debate on the decarbonisation of private housing reached the Senedd Siambr in May. We are thrilled to continue working with policymakers on this topic, and gave a briefing to Members of Senedd. This was reflected in the Senedd, and our key messages were put to the Welsh Government’s Minister for Climate Change, Julie James MS and other key policymakers. These included:
- A one-size-fits-all approach to retrofit will not work with Wales’s built environment, given wide ranging geography, housing stock age, tenure type, and myriad other factors;
- Engaging and empowering the public - as well as incentivising them - to retrofit their own properties will be key to the success of Wales's decarbonisation targets;
- There needs to be innovative funding from Welsh and UK Government to allow people to retrofit their properties, including looking at the council tax and Land Transaction Tax (LTT) systems;
- There are data gaps that need to be overcome to fully grasp the issues at play, particularly with EPC ratings of properties;
- There is a real opportunity to create green jobs for the sector, including upskilling the existing workforce in retrofit skills.
May 2023 Local Elections recap
In early May voters went to the polls to decide on their representatives in local government across the UK. While local government results can often be taken in isolation as voters tend to be more inclined to support third party candidates and independents, and those who vote in local elections can often be motived by localised issues, they can also be a useful barometer for the national sentiment. In May 2023 this was very much the case as the stagnation of the Conservative Party at a national level gave rise to success for opposition parties.
As a bit of a summary here are some of the key numbers that you need to know:
- The Conservative Party saw the greatest number of individual loses. Overall, they lost 960 (resulting in the loss of control over 48 councils) seats.
- Labour, who have tended to not perform well in recent local elections, came out on top gaining a total of 635 new seats.
- The Liberal Democrats performed relatively poorly in comparison to recent years. In 2019 they gained 704 seats, while this year they only gained 416.
- Independents also suffered this year losing a total of 375 seats.
- The Green Party had a great set of results gaining 200 seats, an increase on recent local election results. They also gained control of 1 council which is now only the second local authority they are in control of.
Winners & Losers
It might be useful to highlight some of the main winners and losers as political case studies:
- The Conservatives misery was compounded in two key case studies. Firstly, that of Bracknell Forest where the Conservatives have dominated the council for many years. This year that domination came to an end when the ruling group lost a massive 27 seats on the council, changing the control to Labour. Secondly, is that of Lord Gary Porter. Lord Porter is a Conservative peer who was awarded his lordship for services to local government in 2015. During his time as a councillor Lord Porter has served as Chair of the LGA and leader of South Holland District Council (where he has been leader since 2003). This tenure came to a dramatic end last week as Lord Porter lost his seat, coming fourth in his ward. For such a legend of local government to not only lose his position as leader of the council but to lose his seat entirely is quite a thing to behold.
- Labour has a remarkable set of results last week. A good example of this is the perennial battleground, Brighton & Hove, where Labour and the Greens have been fighting each other for control of the council for years. This year Labour finally broke through, gaining 22 seats and forcing the Green Party into a tough place where they ended up losing 13 seats (a really surprising result given the push towards the Green Party more widely at a national level).
- The Liberal Democrats had a tough week, failing to capitalise on recent local government success. While they certainly made gains, they were, in some cases, offset by loses in areas like Chesterfield. Overall, they gained control of 12 local authorities but when compared with 2019 where they gained 18 this shows a bit of capitulation from the party that seems to chime well with voters in local elections.
CIOB and the press
CIOB announced the postponement of its annual awards until Spring 2024. The news was covered by construction trade media including Construction Enquirer, Construct UK, and Construction Management (same article also published in CIOB People, Global Construction Review and BIM+)
CIOB’s Retrofit Roundtable event at the Scottish Parliament was reported on by Scottish Construction Now, Construction Management, Scottish Housing News, Roofing, Cladding and Insulation magazine and Scottish Business News.
Following an approach from BBC Breakfast for a construction leader in the Midlands to speak on camera about the ongoing need for migrant workers in the sector, we forwarded the request to CIOB members, company members, training partners and policy roundtable attendees. The MD of a company called Cora, volunteered to give the interview, which was broadcast by the BBC on Thursday May 25 in a wider feature on migration. It is Becky’s hope that national media will begin to see CIOB as the go to organisation on construction stories and we can share more opportunities with members and other partners as well as giving the interviews ourselves where appropriate. She has also built a relationship with the Communications director at the CIC, who has agreed to pass on any media enquiries she receives, which they cannot fulfil.
Coming up in June
June starts as May ends...with a parliamentary recess. After the brief break at the start of the month we dive right back into the parliamentary calendar with a session of oral question to the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC).
The focus will remain on DLUHC and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy as former Chancellor of the Exchequer, Kwasi Kwarteng questions government on their policies in place to reach Net Zero by 2050. Elsewhere in the committee halls the Built Environment Committee will be meeting to hear further oral evidence on the impact of environmental regulations on development.
Most of the remaining activity from the months comes from the other side of the House. Firstly, Lord Young of Cookham will ask an oral question on the UK’s ability to build 300,000 homes a year. Secondly, Baroness Blake of Leeds will ask a question about the various support mechanisms for small and medium-sized enterprises in working towards net zero targets. Lastly, Lord Allen of Kensington will enquire about the government's current industrial strategy.
Staying in Touch
Thank you for reading this month’s update from the CIOB policy team. We will be back in your inbox next month with more information about what the team is up to, what is going on in Parliament and built environment news to look out for.
All the best,
The CIOB policy team
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