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Government construction targets impossible due to a lack of ‘feet on the ground’

A lack of manpower is the biggest concern for the Government in meeting construction targets, according to construction and rail recruitment specialists, One Way.

This comes in light of a recent survey from property consultants McBains Cooper which revealed that just three in ten of England’s housebuilders believe the Government’s target of building one million homes by 2020 can be achieved. The report listed the biggest barriers as land shortages, the slow granting of planning permission, a lack of finance and skills shortages.

However, the firm has argued that the biggest problem facing the Government’s target is the lack of ‘feet on the ground’. One Way has highlighted that these targets should have included greater consideration of the manpower requirements which will have a significant impact on productivity.

Paul Payne, managing director at One Way, comments:

“While I agree with the general concerns raised in the report from McBains Cooper, I was concerned that the issue of manpower wasn’t at the forefront of the discussion. There are numerous challenges facing the completion of these targets, but many can be addressed. While there are incentives in place to address the skills shortage – such as the upcoming apprenticeship levy – the immediate lack of feet on the ground should be the number one issue to address. Amendments to the planning permission process can be – and in some instances are already being – made and more investment can be sought, but all of this will be in vain without the people in place to fulfil projects.”

“While there’s no immediate solution to this, the fact that the Government target has been set without due consideration as to the people needed to achieve it is a concern. Yes there is a need for more homes to be built, but setting unrealistic targets isn’t a solution for an industry which has long felt the impact of a talent brain drain.”