Forum secures £40,000 funding to identify investment areas

Hew Edgar

In yet another example of its innovative approach to stimulating and growing Scotland’s building sector, the CICV Forum has secured significant grant funding to help it explore the most fruitful avenues for expansion. 

The unique collective has successfully applied for £40,000 of funding from the Construction Scotland Innovation Centre (CSIC), one of Scotland’s unique Innovation Centres which links business, university experts and public sector providers to create transformational change in the construction sector. The funding will be used to engage with the renowned Fraser of Allander Institute, which focuses on economic research in Scotland.

CSIC’s funding – which was awarded through its i-Con Challenge Fund, set up to help the construction sector develop novel approaches to dealing with the challenges brought on by Covid-19 – will allow the Forum to investigate where public bodies can most effectively invest to create the maximum benefit by creating an economic multiplier effect. It will also research the potential impact of a VAT rebate as a market stimulus.

Securing dedicated and focused funding is a new route for the CICV Forum, which has fostered a range of initiatives since it was established in March aimed at bringing the construction sector in Scotland back to full health after the nationwide lockdown.

Hew Edgar, chair of the Futures sub-group of the Forum and Head of UK Government Relations and City Strategy at the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), said: “This is an important development for the CICV Forum.

“Funding of this nature considerably increases our range of options and allows us to identify and highlight the investment areas which will return the greatest social and economic benefits, allowing public bodies to target their limited funds.

“Capital spending has a huge knock-on effect on the wider economy and, at £2.94, the construction sector’s multiplier effect is one of the highest in the country. It means that, for every £1 spent on construction output, an additional £2.94 of additional economic activity is generated.

“We will also now look at the potential impact of a VAT rebate, and how this could generate revenue for HMRC through increased corporation tax and increased general economic activity.”

Douglas Morrison, Director of Operations and Future Skills at Construction Scotland Innovation Centre, said: “Our role is to drive cultural and transformational change across the construction industry.

“Bodies such as the CICV Forum share that vision and, in the short space of time in which it has been operating, it has proved itself to be innovative, focused and determined in its mission to improve the long-term prospects of the sector.

“We hope this funding will assist its efforts to identify new opportunities for the industry and to drive change through both commercial and publicly-funded initiatives.”

Mairi Spowage, Deputy Director of the Fraser of Allander Institute, said: “The FoA works closely with various partners, including those in business, the public and the third sector and we are pleased to be able to help facilitate the CICV Forum’s important research.

“The Forum has assembled a formidable pool of industry expertise since it was established at the onset of the pandemic shutdown and we are confident that this funding will allow it to carry on and expand its valuable work.”

The latest funding initiative reinforces the Forum’s reputation for proactive innovation, which has seen it at the forefront of clear and concise information distribution throughout the COVID-19 crisis.

In the last month, it has launched a new rebuilding campaign, released its 50th piece of guidance, issued seven health and safety advice documents, updated its operating guidance and reminded construction workers to observe physical distancing in their social lives too.