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Government accused of failing to deliver on its commitment to new public buildings

A leading construction body, backed by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), has accused the government of failing to deliver the number of new hospitals, schools and housing it has previously promised.

According to a report by the Construction Products Association (CPA) which will be launched at the Labour Party conference later today (28 September) the government has missed a number of its own key targets for improving the country's public buildings and infrastructure.

Supported by the CBI, the detailed survey reveals the government is unlikely to hit its target of refurbishing or rebuilding 380 secondary schools by April 2008.

In addition, the CPA is worried that the government's strategic education programme, Building Schools for the Future, is falling behind schedule.

The survey also states that the current goal of building 30,000 new homes per year by March 2008 is 30 per cent lower than the original recommendations in the Barker Report.

CPA chief executive Michael Ankers said: 'We have the world's fourth-largest economy yet, even after a decade of unprecedented economic growth, we still remain bottom of the European league for the percentage of GDP invested in construction, spending 7 per cent compared with an average of 12 per cent.'

Though he acknowledges some progress has been made, Ankers is concerned that health targets are only being met because major projects are being deferred to make way for smaller, easier to finish, schemes.

CBI director general Digby Jones has endorsed the study. He said: '[The] government has not been short on ambition but has failed to meet too many of its own targets, has failed to monitor progress and has failed to demonstrate whether the billions already spent have been good-value investments.'

by Richard Waite

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