July 19, 2024

Ivan McKee, Minister for Business, Trade, Tourism and Enterprise and chair of the Scottish Construction Leadership Forum, talks about the importance of construction to the Scottish economy and how the sector can tackle the challenges posed after a year of disruption

The construction industry touches every part of Scotland’s economy and is vital to our future prosperity. With a turnover of around £19 billion per annum it provides £7.8 billion GVA to the Scottish economy and employs 143,000* people in over 45,000** enterprises.

Few sectors have such an impact on our communities across Scotland or have the same potential to provide large numbers of high-skilled, well-paid jobs. Construction underpins our economy, providing housing for Scotland’s growing population; developing our transport infrastructure and making a significant contribution to the sustainability of the built environment, creating the buildings and infrastructure to provide for future health services and increased educational attainment.

Improvements to the sector’s productivity and profitability are key to continue to address Scotland’s construction needs. This allows the sector to invest in its people, innovation, skills and the new technology required to take advantage of the emerging opportunities in areas such as energy efficiency retrofit, offsite construction and in the major infrastructure opportunities emerging within the wider UK and internationally.

We have a good track record in Scotland of standing up local supply chains in PPE and other commodities. That experience will help us explore potential for home grown supply chains which can improve resilience, support net zero and help raise the economic benefits for Scotland. Put simply I am keen to explore every opportunity to manufacture in Scotland as much of the construction materials we use as possible, and to work with the sector to deliver that. As a first step this week I am meeting with key suppliers to see what can be done to address the shortages of building materials we are currently experiencing.

The Construction Leadership Forum, under my chairmanship, will continue to support the development and growth of a more sustainable, productive, innovative and profitable construction industry in Scotland. Our initial focus will be on recovery and the Construction Recovery Plan, agreed by government and industry, sets out the response to the challenges caused by both the coronavirus pandemic and EU exit and provides a pathway to longer term industry transformation. Delivery of the plan is well underway and we will work together with our valued partners in industry, Construction Scotland Innovation Centre, Scottish Futures Trust and our agencies to drive that further and faster.

The development of a Construction Accord this year will create the platform for industry and government to work together to achieve our shared goals of a fairer, more inclusive and diverse sector.

This is a crucial time for business, trade and investment in Scotland and we are pushing forward with an ambitious agenda of recovery and economic transformation.

Construction will play a key part in that recovery, delivering critical infrastructure and supporting our important net zero commitments.

By working together and galvanising the expertise and ingenuity of the construction industry, we can enhance Scotland’s economic potential and deliver greater, greener and fairer prosperity.

About the author

Ivan McKee MSP is Minister for Business, Trade, Tourism and Enterprise and also the chair of the Scottish Construction Leadership Forum – https://www.constructionforum.scot/ 


*source: Business Register Employment Survey 2019

**source: Businesses in Scotland 2020


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