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Bellway targets £1.25bn profit over next two years

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The returns will spell a bonanza for shareholders with one third of the cash distributed in dividends.

The target came as Britain’s fourth largest house builder posted a strong set of results for the year to July 31 2020.

Pre-tax profits rose to £479m from from £236.7m last time on turnover up to £3.1bn from £2.2bn.

Housing completions were also up to 10,138 from 7,522 with a target of hitting 12,200 homes by 2023. Bellway has a land bank of 86,571 plots.

Bellway also set aside a further net £51.8m as part of its “commitment to help owners of legacy apartment schemes undertake fire safety improvements”  bringing the total amount provided since 2017 in relation to post-Grenfell cladding issues to £164.7m.

Group chief executive Jason Honeyman added: “On a site level, we continue to undertake centralised layout and ground-work reviews, to ensure that quality is preserved, while driving further cost efficiencies in the construction process.

“We have also developed a matrix to help determine the optimum and most cost effective solution for retaining walls, depending on aesthetic requirements and we continue to encourage the sharing of best practice and new ideas through cross-functional and divisional working groups.

“Notwithstanding our strong commercial disciplines, overall cost inflation during the year has been in the mid-single digits, although this, in general, has been offset by rises in house prices.

“We continue to see price inflation on commodities such as steel, timber, MDF and polymers, but there are signs that some of the more pronounced price increases over recent months are beginning to subside.

“There remain ongoing constraints in the supply chain and intermittent labour shortages across the sector as, despite the vaccine success, colleagues, subcontractors and suppliers are subject to self-isolation requirements to curtail the spread of Covid-19.

“In addition, the national shortage of heavy goods vehicle drivers and recent disruption to fuel supplies has had some impact on the availability of materials.  In general, these constraints are manageable by adopting good procurement disciplines and forward planning.

“They will, however, mean that construction output in the first half of financial year 2022 is likely to remain similar to that achieved in the first half of financial year 2021.

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Trump says Boris making ‘big mistake’ with wind, adding environmentalists ‘hate the world’

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Former US President Donald Trump has weighed back into British politics this evening, savaging the British government’s approach to wind power.

In his first TV interview to foreign media for over a year, Donald Trump was speaking to former UKIP leader Nigel Farage for his show on GB News.

Commenting on wind energy, Trump said, “I think wind is ridiculous.  I think wind is a horrible thing for Scotland, and I got to see it, because I own magnificent properties in Scotland and in Ireland. And I look at these magnificent fields with horrible windmills all over them, and windmills is a nice term”

Claiming that wind power is the most expensive form of energy, and one which can’t work without subsidy, Trump suggested that after a couple of years, wind turbines, “start to rust, and wear out, and look terrible, look even worse”.  He also suggested they “kill all the birds”.

Turning his guns on British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, Trump told GB News that, “If Boris is going heavy into wind, he is wrong, he is making a big mistake”.

“In the UK it is all over the place.  You fly over the place, and I say what a shame what they have done. And you know the environmentalists are liking this stuff. I think they hate the world”.

Referring to his relationship with Boris Johnson, Trump said, “I like him.  I have always got along with him. He has got a little bit more on the liberal side, but I tell you, with energy, I am surprised that he would allow that to happen, because you have one of the most beautiful countries in the world.  And you are destroying it with all these wind turbines all over the place”.

Doubling down on his criticism, the former US President repeated his dislike of the Aberdeen Bay Wind Farm, describing it as “disgusting to look at”.  Trump previously purchased the Menie estate near Aberdeen.

During the interview, the former US President appeared to receive some support from Nigel Farage for his views on wind turbines, with the former UKIP leader commenting, “Well I have to say that I am not a great fan of them”.

The UK wind industry is said to comprise over 11,000 turbines, the sixth largest number in the world.  In 2020, wind power contributed a quarter of the UK’s energy generation.    Wind is now the largest source of renewable energy in the UK with the government planning a further expansion of offshore capacity in the next decade.

Previous polling has suggested that British voters don’t share Donald Trump’s views on wind. In May 2020, a Public Attitudes Tracker published by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy showed that offshore wind had the backing of 81% of people, with onshore wind close behind at 77%.

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Re:Construction Podcast – Episode 89

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Retentions – with Lord Aberdare

Read Full Article: The Construction Index

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Government launches ‘ambitious’ social care plans

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Social care minister Gillian Keegan has claimed the government’s new white paper on adult social care provides an “ambitious 10-year vision”.

Ms Keegan told MPs that many of the sector’s issues are so problematic “that successive governments over decades have decided to duck them rather than deal with them but this Government is determined to get it right.”

Launching the paper, she explained that it was “underpinned by three core principles” – to ensure “everybody has choice, control and support to live independent lives”.

Last week the government was criticised by a number of its own MPs over plans to change the calculation of the social care cap. 

The new proposals will see those eligible for state support left unable to count the money towards the cap. Critics say the changes would significantly disadvantage the poorest in society.

She emphasises that the £300 million investment would  “support local authorities to increase the range of new supported housing options”.

Ex-health secretary Jeremy Hunt reiterated his stance that the plans were “three steps forward, two steps back”.

He told the Commons this afternoon: “The step forward which we should acknowledge is the introduction of a cap. Whatever the arguments about what counts towards the cap, having a cap will make a big difference to many people and that is welcome.”

He said the local authorities that organise the care are  “barely” allocated enough to deal with “demographic change and the national living wage increases”.

He also highlighted that it was “hard to see an end to the workforce crisis which leaves 40 per cent turnover in many companies”.

He said the minister must rollout better measures to “deal with those huge problems”, as hospital wards “continue to be full of people who should be discharged and older people not getting the care they need because the carers do not exist.”

Liz Kendall, Labour’s shadow minister for social care also criticised the plans, claiming that they had  “two central flaws”  as they “utterly failed to deal with the immediate pressures” of waiting lists and staff shortages.

She also complained that the proposal did not outline “more fundamental reforms we need to deliver a care system fit for the future”.

“Where was the long-term strategy to transform the pay, training, terms and conditions of care workers to deliver at least half a million additional care workers by 2030 just to meet growing demand?” she went on.

Commenting on the publication of the Government’s adult social care reform White Paper, People at the Heart of Care, Sally Warren, Director of Policy at The King’s Fund said: “The overall vision in the White Paper is the right one and if delivered could significantly improve the experience of people receiving care and those who work in the sector. However, the steps outlined don’t go fast or far enough to achieve this vision and the funding allocated to deliver it is insufficient. In particular, although there are some welcome commitments on training and skills for staff, there is little to tackle poor workforce pay and conditions and high vacancy levels in the sector.

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