New construction minister yet to meet CLC co-chair after four months

Four months after becoming construction minister, Nusrat Ghani still has not met with her Construction Leadership Council (CLC) co-chair.

As construction minister, Ghani is automatically co-chair of the CLC, alongside Mace chief executive Mark Reynolds. She was appointed to the role in November.

But Construction News can reveal that they still have not met, despite the past four months including the run-up and delivery of the Budget, numerous industry administrations and soaring inflation.

From minutes of a CLC meeting in February, CN understands that a meeting between Reynolds and Ghani had been planned for 20 February. However, the meeting never went ahead, according to the government.

A spokesperson for the Department for Business and Trade said nothing had changed in recent weeks and that a meeting would be arranged “shortly”.

The news comes as industry voices have suggested that the government is losing interest in the construction sector.

Last week, Turner & Townsend UK managing director Patricia Moore said viewers of the Budget “would be forgiven for thinking that the government has lost its appreciation for the role the industry plays as an engine for the economy ”, adding: “We can perhaps see the centre of gravity moving away from construction under this government.”

Mace chief of staff – and CLC member – Hannah Vickers also warned this week that the Budget “risks tipping construction into recession” in an opinion piece published by CN.

Meanwhile, the government opted not to include anyone from a contractor or the CLC in its newly-assembled energy efficiency taskforce – despite the CLC having planned a construction industry strategy for retrofitting the UK’s building stock.

Ghani is the 23rd minister for construction since 2001, succeeding Jackie Doyle-Price, who spent less than a month in the role following the collapse of the short-lived Truss administration.

Ghani has been a Conservative MP for Wealden in East Sussex since 2015, previously serving as a junior minister in the Department for Transport between January 2018 and February 2020. She was also a government whip between July 2019 and December 2019, and an assistant government whip from January 2018 until July 2019.

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