Construction underpins our economy and society. Few sectors have such an impact on communities across the UK or have the same potential to provide large numbers of high-skilled, well-paid jobs.
The construction sector reaches every corner of the United Kingdom and touches each of our lives. It is fundamental to our economy as we invest in our future: building the homes we live in, the schools and hospitals we rely on, and the offices, factories, and transport and energy infrastructure that keep the wheels of industry turning.
We are in the early days of one of the greatest construction programmes in our history, from delivering more homes that people can afford, in the places they want to live, to major infrastructure projects such as Crossrail and the third runway at Heathrow. This infrastructure pipeline represents more than £600 billion of spend over the next decade, including at least £44 billion for housing. The pace of this change, and the size of this opportunity, demands a construction sector that is the best in the world.
At the same time, the UK is at the forefront of one of the greatest industrial opportunities of our time: the move to cleaner economic growth. Through the Clean Growth Grand Challenge, the government has set out its determination to maximise the advantages for UK industry from this global shift, including the mission to halve the energy use of new buildings by 2030.
The life of every person in Britain is affected by the construction sector. It is one of our truly nationwide industries – encompassing individual homes in remote areas and some of the greatest infrastructure projects of our generation, in every corner of the United Kingdom. It is one of our major employers, with around 3.1 million people1 working in the sector, most of whom are outside London and the South East.
The construction sector, encompassing contracting, product manufacturing and professional services, had a turnover of around £370 billion in 2016, adding £138 billion in value to the UK economy – 9% of the total – and exported over £8 billion of products and services. The government set out its vision to create good jobs and greater earning power for all in the Industrial Strategy. The construction sector employs nearly one in 10 working people in the UK, giving it unparalleled potential to improve skill levels right across the country.