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Construction named as key sector in government's Industrial Strategy

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Construction has been announced as one of four industries to land a new ‘sector deal’ with the government in its Industrial Strategy published yesterday

The new government and industry partnerships are intended to boost productivity, employment, innovation and skills in the sector.

The announcement in yesterday’s Industrial Strategy: Building a Britain fit for the future, launched by business secretary Greg Clark (pictured), came after chancellor Phillip Hammond had pledged to invest £170 million in research and development (R&D) as part of the sector deal agreement.

The report recognised the ‘leading-edge’ R&D in a number of sectors, with architecture among those mentioned.

The three other professions to have secured sector deals are life sciences, artificial intelligence and the automotive sector.

The creative industries are also in ‘advanced discussions’ for securing a sector deal, according to the Industrial Strategy documents.

RIBA chief executive Alan Valance welcomed the strategy and congratulated the Construction Leadership Council (CLC) for its work in securing the sector deal.

CLC co-chair and Crossrail chief executive Andrew Wolstenholme said last month that construction had a ‘fifty-fifty’ chance of securing a sector deal, which he said could be worth £250 million.

But he added: ‘The new procurement standard for the construction industry needs to be owned by the whole sector, not just the larger builders.’

He said that that the RIBA, working alongside the Creative Industries Council, was seeking to ‘continue to work on the sector deal for the creative industries’.

Valance added: ‘An effective UK-wide Industrial Strategy is vital as we navigate towards Brexit and beyond. Delivered alongside substantial investments in our lagging infrastructure, it has the potential to greatly improve productivity.’

He said the government needed to ‘recognise that the UK is at its strongest when we compete globally for talent’, calling for ‘clarity for EU citizens living in the UK’.

The Industrial Strategy also reaffirmed the government’s support for HS2, describing it as a ‘long-term opportunity to contribute to growth and productivity throughout the UK’.

The documents went on to stress the government’s desire to implement a ‘more strategic approach to planning housing and infrastructure’, as well as ‘more innovation and high-quality design’ in new homes.

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