Government sets schools at heart of Project Speed rebuilding programme

WATES and Mace are among contractors to have welcomed news that the government plans to rebuild the UK economy with a £250bn programme to accelerate the construction of schools, as well as hospitals, roads and railways, dubbed ‘Project Speed’.

A taskforce headed by chancellor Rishi Sunak will examine public investment projects and aims to remove bottlenecks to speed up delivery times. Meanwhile, Johnson has also promised funding of £1bn for 50 major school building projects in England as well as a further £560m for repairs to existing buildings. Commenting on the plans for ‘Project Speed’, Mark Reynolds, Mace Group CEO, said: “The construction and infrastructure sectors have a critical role to play in helping to support our economic recovery from the pandemic. The Prime Minister has set out the grand scale of his ambitions, and it is clear that we have a huge opportunity as we work to ‘build ourselves back to health’.“ It is vital that we do everything we can to ensure this promised historic wave of investment will actually deliver the economic growth we so desperately need. That means we must prioritise innovative, offsite and low carbon construction solutions – and it means targetting the creation of sustainable jobs and social value in the places where they are needed most.”

Commenting on the extra investment for schools, Steve Beechey, group strategy director and education lead at Wates, said: “We very much welcome today’s announcement from the Prime Minister regarding the new ten-year school rebuilding programme which will see more than £1 billion in funding pumped into the sector.“It is this scale of commitment and focus on the next generation that will make a huge impact in boosting the economy post-covid, and enable us to deliver much needed investment into local communities across the UK.“Long term planning is exactly what is needed to upgrade our schools estate and this decade-long initiative will deliver valuable jobs, educational facilities and community hubs in the areas that need it most.“ We also welcome the government’s commitment to greener, more sustainable buildings delivered using modern methods of construction such as offsite manufacturing, which we provide from our award-winning purpose built facility in the Midlands.“To echo Mr Johnson’s words, access to the best possible education is essential to our social infrastructure, in order for young people to grow, thrive and make their own positive impact on the world.”

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