Construction initiative “vital”

Construction initiative "vital"

A scheme to help the construction industry has been described by an influential minority ethnic forum as “vital if not overdue.”

The West Midlands Minority Ethnic Business Forum has welcomed the initiative by The Regional Economic Taskforce to help the sector get through the recession.

It follows representations to Ian Austin MP, Minister from the West Midlands by Business Voice WM (formerly the West Midlands Business Council) of which the Forum is a member.

“We have wanted to see support for construction for a long time because this was one of the first to be hit by the economic downturn and has suffered more than most,” said Hamid Salim, chair of the Forum’s Business Enterprise and Skills sub-group.

“Helping construction brings real long-term benefits to the West Midlands by providing homes, commercial premises and improving infrastructure.

“The Forum is particularly pleased with the help being given to support apprenticeships as young people have been very badly hit by the recession and encouraging skills for the future is essential.”

Full details of the Action Plan have not yet been revealed but include:

• Bridge Loans via Advantage West Midland’s Transition Loan Fund.
• The continuance of gap funding for major construction work through AWM’s Development Gap Funding Scheme.
• Further help for contractors wishing to bid for work connected with the 2012 Olympic Games.
• Subsidy for apprenticeships for construction firms.
• A Home and Communities Agency ‘Kick Start’ programme to help unlock housing schemes affected by the credit crunch.

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