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ACE calls for strategic interventions to help industry through coronavirus crisis

The government is being urged by the Association for Consultancy and Engineering to make a series of key strategic interventions to help the industry overcome the economic impact of the coronavirus crisis.

In a letter to the chancellor, ACE has called for a series of proactive and positive immediate, short and medium-term measures that could be taken to help the industry. The letter argues that rather than “simply ask for a cash flow bail-out” these interventions would “help to de-risk the future pipeline and ensure the industry is “fit for the future”.

The interventions include:

A grant of up to £50,000 to SMEs in the sector to enable them to meet the digital requirements of working from home to be spent on hardware and specialist software.

Acceleration of the pre-construction phase of government programmes, including schools, hospitals and roads, to mitigate the downturn in private sector work, and help projects become shovel-ready sooner.

Turning the high-level commitment of an “infrastructure revolution” into a reality with a clear published pipeline of projects in the autumn to stimulate the wider economy and generate business confidence.

Providing tax incentives for the housebuilding sector and further city deals to devolved mayors to encourage private sector development.

Investment in Future of Consultancy demonstrator projects, £1m seed-funding towards the business case and wider funding for R&D and innovation. All of which will ensure the entire sector is more robust going forwards.

The letter also stressed the importance of the industry in delivering on the government’s longer term ambitions for infrastructure to act as a catalyst for economic growth and in delivering on society’s net zero ambitions.

Commenting on the letter, ACE chief executive Hannah Vickers said: “Given the strategic importance of our industry to delivering the government’s clear ambitions on infrastructure, we have made some simple asks to help our members see through the uncertainty ahead. These are practical and tangible steps that could be taken now to provide much needed support, boost growth in the medium term, and ensure our sector is ready for the future.”

ACE chair for 2020, Paul Reilly managing director, Stantec – Infrastructure and Buildings, said: “The government has made much of its infrastructure revolution and it will be crucial to a long-term, post-coronavirus plan for economic growth, but the reality is that without support now, many will be unable to help make this a reality.”

One Response to “ACE calls for strategic interventions to help industry through coronavirus crisis”

  1. It’s not only SME’s that aren’t fully equipped for working from home! I’m sure we all have examples of UK companies (many household names) who could (and should) have seriously invested in mobile technologies and trained colleagues in effective collaborative practices in recent years. Unfortunately ‘Business Continuity’ didn’t feature as a high enough risk to justify the additional capital costs, despite the clear productivity benefits!
    Despite the terrible Covid-19 coronavirus posing a huge threat to our health, wellbeing and economy, it’s fair to say that in times of crises, innovation does thrive. A quick skim of today’s LinkedIn updates is proving our industry colleagues are suddenly realising that a fully digital way of working can be just as productive and engaging whilst promoting increased creativity……we have been blogging about this need for digital transformation on i3P for at least the past 5 years under the banner of ‘Never Waste a Good Crises’!
    Our real challenge is how to translate ‘virtual’ engineering design and construction planning into enhanced onsite delivery through industrialisation; at this point we can begin to deploy robotics in dedicated fabrication factories, AI in automated logistics and smart IoT technologies on the construction site to leverage connected plant and equipment to reduce our labour demands.
    Stay healthy everyone 🙂

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