Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Jobs of Thousands 'Doomed by Cuts' Construction Work in Peril, Says Chamber

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Jobs of Thousands 'Doomed by Cuts' Construction Work in Peril, Says Chamber

Article excerpt

Byline: Adrian Pearson

THOUSANDS of construction jobs will go in the North East as local authorities are forced to cut back on their building plans, it was claimed last night.

More than pounds 800m is set to be lost to the regional economy as council chiefs prepare huge cuts, business leaders said. In the next three years, local authorities will be forced to reel in spending plans after a decade that saw record levels of investment. The region's dependance on public sector spending makes it among the most vulnerable in the United Kingdom, according to the North East Chamber of Commerce.

The chamber claims current council budget predictions would see the region miss out on 17,000 jobs as local authorities admit they have no cash left for new flagship projects.

It has called on councils to ensure contracts are awarded to firms which recruit locally, make sure those conditions are passed on to supply chain businesses and avoid using national frameworks for future construction contracts.

Chamber president Martyn Pellew said: "The predicted decline in public sector spending is truly frightening.

"The North East, more than other UK regions, is particularly exposed to these cuts and the figures published today must be a catalyst for action.

"North East councils need to take a more proactive approach to the way they award contracts.

"It is essential that local authorities make sure that they squeeze the maximum value for the North East out of every penny they spend."

Mr Pellew urged council bosses to think twice about introducing damaging cuts or accepting lower costs bids bringing less work to the region.

"It will be too easy for authorities, faced with rapidly shrinking budgets, to think that cheapest is best," he said.

"This would be catastrophic for the North East economy. …

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