Construction Industry

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Innovation, Universities and Skills – in the House of Commons at 10:30 am on 20th November 2008.

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Photo of Siôn Simon Siôn Simon Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills 10:30 am, 20th November 2008

I am very grateful to the hon. Gentleman for his gracious welcome. He asked a lot of questions, and I think that the answer to almost all of them is yes. He will forgive me if I do not necessarily remember them all, but, yes, I should love to visit the construction industry training body's national construction centre in his constituency; and, yes, on the ability of Governments to be counter-cyclical in a recession, he is absolutely right that we, as a Government, need to use our purchasing power, particularly in the downturn. That is exactly what we are doing in the Building Colleges for the Future programme, and in the Building Schools for the Future programme. Through their commissioning documents, apprenticeships and training places have been built in as an absolutely central part of both programmes.

More generally, on the question of construction in the downturn, we should remember that, although there is a lot of pressure on the house building sector, many parts of the commercial construction sector have resisted recession quite well so far, so we must be careful, as not all Opposition Members are at all times, not to talk down the sector and the economy.

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