In a joint event this morning with Maitland, International Trade Minister Greg Hands MP announced the launch of a new service for infrastructure providers to help UK companies secure major contracts abroad.
With the global construction industry set to double in the next decade and Britain’s focus shifting towards building its own post-Brexit future, Greg Hands noted that there has never been a better time for industry and government to work together to forge new international relationships and promote British expertise around the globe.
While others focus on the technical details of extracting the UK from the EU, the Department for International Trade (DIT) is ready and willing to serve as the buccaneers. Set up by the Prime Minister to realise her plan for a global Britain, DIT aims to forge new trading relationships with the rest of the world.
In a room filled with UK infrastructure industry leaders, Hands opened his speech by highlighting the importance of two facets of the UK’s infrastructure history: boldness and foresight. Now, with the tides changing in the wake of Brexit, the Government seeks to work closer with industry. As the Minister put it, the government will work to “unlock the doors to the meetings that matter” by opening access to larger international opportunities.
He announced the development of a new body; Infrastructure Exports: UK (IE:UK), which will bring together companies—large, medium and small—to pitch for large, global infrastructure contracts with the strength offered from a unified ‘Team UK’ approach. This will allow the UK to deliver on a wider, more complex, set of projects by consolidating British industry expertise all in one place.
The new body will be co-chaired by Greg Hands and James Wates CBE, Chairman of the Wates Group. Hands stated that “the ‘Team UK’ approach will bring together leading British infrastructure companies to showcase their expertise on a global scale”. IE:UK will meet three times a year to choose which projects they wish to pursue with government support. The aim is to select the UK businesses with the right expertise to group together and create winning bids.
Brexit will force both government and industry to be bolder and to work together more closely than ever before. This is one way to address that challenge.