HC Deb 13 June 2002 vol 386 cc1375-6W
Mr. Page

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what her objectives are in sponsoring the construction industry. [58247]

Mr. Wilson

The Department is seeking to establish a culture of continuous improvement in the construction industry, leading to improvements in productivity, competitiveness, and quality of delivery. The industry is key to the delivery of our investment plans aimed at improving quality of life.

We are taking forward three key policy initiatives as part of our improvement agenda with the industry:

First, Rethinking Construction proves the business case for change and delivers a culture of continuous improvement. In partnership with the industry we are using demonstration projects, case studies and best practice dissemination to show the practical steps construction companies can take to improve their productivity and competitiveness and whereby clients can demand products which offer best value and enhance their own performance. We have agreed to continue the initiative until April 2004.

Second, my Department supports a substantial programme of construction-related innovation and research to support industry improvement. Sir John Fairclough, a former government chief scientist, has recently conducted a review of how we should best provide that support in the future. The report establishes an excellent framework for improving the effectiveness of construction research. We are consulting the industry on how we can work with them to take forward the recommendations.

Finally, through the Quality Mark Scheme, we will enable builders to demonstrate their competence and to distinguish themselves from their less reputable rivals. The Scheme will be rolled out across the country over a three to four year period.