Jersey Construction Council - release 'shovel-ready' projects
With the UK government unveiling plans this week to get 'shovel-ready' housing projects off the ground in England, the Construction Council wants Jersey's government to begin the release of further stimulus funding and bring forward capital projects to kick-start the island's economy.
The UK Prime Minister's 'build for growth' plans will include a £400m fund to help to launch schemes that are ready but lack necessary finance. And property companies will be able to bid for public funding to finish developments that have stalled because of a lack of funding.
Building more homes is one of the UK government's economic priorities, and this initiative aims to build 16,000 of them while creating up to 32,000 jobs.
In Jersey, the JeCC estimates that new projects totalling £250m of private investment could begin almost immediately in areas already identified in the Island Plan. In addition, the desperate need for affordable housing should also be addressed with the release of the identified States-owned sites.
JeCC Chairman Martin Holmes said: "Capital spending is one of the most effective tools at the government's disposal when it comes to stimulating the economy and securing long-term recovery, and that's exactly what is happening in the UK. The construction sector is like a barometer for the economy so today's announcement conveys a real build-for-growth message.
"In Jersey, the industry is experiencing a desperate shortage of work, which could be to the long-term detriment of its skilled workforce. We have recently heard threats of redundancy from two island firms and already seen the demise of Charles Le Quesne, a long-standing construction company.
"But investment in construction - the island's fourth largest sector - has a multiplier effect. Every £1 spent is worth £2.84 to the wider economy. It also supports economic diversity which is essential for having stability in the workforce.
"It is imperative that we inject confidence back into the sector, and we can do this now by beginning work on those 'shovel-ready' schemes," said Mr Holmes.
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