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TP chief exec calls for govt support for construction

Chief executive officer of international construction business Travis Perkins (TP) Geoff Cooper has argued the UK government should be doing much more to promote a recovery in the industry at present.

He argued that there are currently approximately £40 billion of stalled infrastructure investment projects languishing across the UK, but with the proper stimuli these initiatives could be brought back online and provide a significant boost to the ailing British economy.

As such, government spending on "shovel-ready" projects such as these would provide an excellent stimulus to UK construction - a sector which itself provides up to ten per cent of the country's gross domestic product - with a significant multiplier for investment being in place.

Mr Cooper told Reuters: "What we would wish the government to do is stop spending bad money on current expenditure and spend good money on capital items.

"The government has done a few things but I think we would want to press them even harder to go further in that direction."

He added that latent demand for building continues to rise across the UK, as many projects are being scaled back as companies await signs that prospects for the economy are improving before committing more funds to developments.

Mr Cooper's comments follow those of Brian Berry, chief executive of the Federation of Master Builders, who recently claimed a radical rethink of the measures for the stimulation of the UK construction are needed in the wake of the latest GDP data and ongoing recession in the UK.

Indeed, the construction industry is one of the most important in the UK for long-term financial stability and growth and it should therefore be a priority to promote a recovery in the industry as soon as possible.

Mr Berry argued: "The chancellor should cut VAT on all housing repair, maintenance and improvement work to five per cent, which would provide a big stimulus to the UK economy and create over 100,000 new jobs by 2020." 

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