I was very pleased to help launch the JeCC awards this morning in Jersey.  The awards ceremony will take place in October 2016. Full details can be obtained from JeCC Awards 2016 – Nominations and Toolkit

I attach a copy of my speech:

Launch of the 2016 Jersey Construction Awards

  • Good morning – Thank you for inviting me to speak to you today
  • These awards are an excellent opportunity to celebrate the work of Jersey’s construction industry and I hope we will see even more entries this year than last
  • We are seeing a growing confidence in the construction sector and I am pleased that innovation and training are being recognised in the new categories being introduced to these awards
  • Innovation is an area of our economy that we are particularly focusing on.
  • As business people you understand its importance, and it’s important to government too.
  • We commissioned an Innovation Review last year, led by expert and Fiscal Policy Panel member Tera Allas, and I am looking forward to implementing its recommendations.
  • Investing in Education and skills is another of our priorities.
  • We need highly skilled people in key sectors like construction, and I hope we can work together to provide rewarding employment for islanders while also reducing the need to import skilled staff.

Stability

  • Last year the Chief Minister spoke to you about continued instability in the global economy.
  • Sadly – that instability continues AND we are now seeing new risks: –
  • continued stagnation of major European economies, a slowdown in China and Brazil, uncertainty about the UK referendum and plunging oil and commodity prices which are destabilising economies around the world, especially in the Middle East
  • Our economy is inextricably linked to other economies across the world – so when other markets slow down, we feel the effects.
  • The best antidote to those external economic risks is making sure that our economy is healthy enough to withstand them.
  • Our Strategic Plan set out a clear economic direction – support the economy, keep spending under control and invest in priority areas of Health, education and Infrastructure

 

  • we now have the highest ever number of people in paid work
  • We have pumped more money into the economy – spending more on services and capital projects than we take out in tax
  • Already this year – Back to Work has supported almost 100 people to start work in the construction industry
  • We have a construction paid training initiative which was developed in partnership with industry
  • It’s enabling jobseekers to train in real life situations and equip them with the skills they need to succeed
  • We are also running tailored construction training for jobseekers to match the demand in your industry
  • Construction is a key sector for us – and is 2nd only to hospitality for job starts

Economy

  • the latest economic forecasts show our economy is expected to grow this year and next by about 1.5%.
  • and we have a positive set of economic indicators that demonstrate this improvement
    • the economy grew by nearly 5% in 2014
    • GDP per head went up 3%
    • average earnings are up by 0.8% more than inflation
    • housing market activity is up 5%
    • and house prices in 2015 were 4% higher than a year before
    • business activity is up by 18 percentage points
    • Business Optimism in the Construction industry was strongly positive for the second consecutive quarter, with 44% of firms reporting higher optimism than three months earlier
    • Profitability in Construction has seen a generally upward trend during the last three years,
    • and all this activity is supported by low inflation at 0.9%
  • I have every confidence that our economy will continue to recover
  • We are keeping government costs under control –
  • investing in health, education, infrastructure and economic growth
  • regenerating our capital, St Helier
  • continuing to get islanders back into work –
  • instilling long term thinking into our policy planning –
  • we have held a number of briefings to explain our new long term planning process
  • If your organisation would like to hear more about it – you just need to get in touch and my team will arrange it

Infrastructure

  • One of the investment priorities is infrastructure
  • Over the next 4 years there is an extra £168 million for capital projects
  • That includes £55m for new and improved school buildings at Les Quennevais, St Mary and Grainville
  • And as well as that – Andium will spend more than £200 million in the coming years, much of it transforming areas of our town
  • we have a coherent vision for St Helier – and we are already seeing offices being transformed into homes
  • our new Housing Strategy aims to provide 1,000 new affordable homes by 2020
  • providing this level of new homes relies on a strong, confident construction industry
  • in June 2015 the sector employed 5,250 people – the largest ever construction workforce – and supplied approximately 450 housing units.
  • We need new homes for island families – but we also need Grade A office space –
  • your industry is working to provide both

Conclusion

  • I am confident that the construction sector will continue to play a role in Jersey’s economic success
  • the Awards are a great way to showcase the work underway and I look forward to hearing about the successful entries

Thank You.

Senator Lyndon Farnnam, Minister for Economic Development, Tourism, Sport and Culture.

 

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