THE latest UK job figures bring home the impact of the country's continuing economic woes on employment in the UK construction industry.
UK-wide, they show the building sector having shed 57,000 jobs in the past year and 219,000 jobs over the past four years. I applaud the Scottish Government's efforts in seeking to prioritise direct capital investment to boost the construction industry and would give full backing to the First Minister's calls on the UK Government to release additional funds to bolster Scotland's capital budget.
At the same time, the Scottish Government's £2.5 billion non-profit distribution infrastructure programme is still not getting shovels in the ground quickly enough with many projects not scheduled to start until late 2013. If we're serious about tackling youth unemployment, the drive to create additional Modern Apprenticeship opportunities also needs to focus much greater attention towards supporting high-quality apprenticeships in the construction sector. This is best achieved by providing a steady and visible flow of current and future projects of varying scale.
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At Westminster and Holyrood, our politicians need to match words with action to show they understand that recovery in the construction industry is critical to the future health of the economy as a whole.
Chief executive, Scottish Building Federation, 4 Crichton's Close, Edinburgh.