In today’s news, we will look into the railroads that are the sustainable transportation system’s linchpin. David Edwards, who works with Placemake, is of the opinion that the service ought to be expanded, rather than dismantled. Meanwhile, the United Kingdom is in danger of seeing its skilled workers leave for jobs in other countries. On the other hand, the UK government has decided to give an additional 170 million pounds to the Sizewell C nuclear project. Moreover, a member of the SNP has proposed lowering the age at which construction employees are eligible to receive their state pension.
Railways: Sustainable Transportation
Original Source: Railways: The backbone of sustainable mobility
David Edwards of Placemake believes the service should be strengthened, not dismantled.
Transport is essential in all places, from little businesses to global cities. How we get to a location and circulate—whether by walking, driving, or taking the bus—is crucial to its operation (and our first impressions, but that’s another issue).
Well-connected places have more activity, footfall, and sales, whereas poorly linked places have to work more to compete.
Remote destinations rely on people arriving by automobile, which generates trips, traffic, and CO2 emissions. Thus, transit is necessary for a location to function and for sustainable growth.
Of course, this is a pretty simplistic way of looking at it, and each region brings its own mobility issues and considerations (for example, rural locations with minimal public transport).
However, many agencies and groups from the UN and World Economic Forum to the UK government have stressed the need for sustainable mobility for attaining net zero targets and decreasing global warming.
Ticket offices have closed over 1,000 times.
Europe’s rail network forms the basis of an integrated sustainable transport system. In the UK, this involves 20,000 miles of track connecting over 2,500 mainline stations. Tickets are sold at 60% of these. However, at the beginning of July, the Department for Transport revealed intentions to close practically all 1,007 offices in England during the following three years, including those at London Euston, Birmingham New Street, and Manchester Piccadilly.
At the end of last year, the previous transport minister argued that closing offices would allow resources to be redistributed to improve passenger experience as just 12% of tickets were purchased there. At the start of this year, the rail minister reiterated this reasoning.
Reducing ticket access could deprive communities of revenue and identity.
The Rail Delivery Group calls this modernization, but The Guardian says it’s mostly about cost reduction.
The 12% figure comes from a time when tourism and passenger numbers were rebounding following the pandemic. Over the past year, passenger travels have climbed by 45%, therefore ticket offices are likely to have seen an increase in utilisation.
Mobility-impaired passengers are most at risk. Scope and Transport for All report that “nearly a third of disabled train passengers said that they don’t trust their journeys will go as planned.” Closing ticket offices and slashing employees will only make this uncertainty worse.”
According to a BBC story, “many rail users, who rely on help at ticket offices, fear the changes will make it harder for them to travel”.
Reducing public transit access can have lasting effects on a community and the health and wellness of those who use it for work, shopping, and socialising.
The practise is creating a public realm strategy for an East Midlands county that is strategically positioned but mostly rural. Four of Rutland’s major towns had train stations in 1959.
Nine stations were closed by 1966, including those of the second and third largest towns. One station with two passenger service per hour remains in the county.
Reduced connection has maintained Rutland’s largely rural nature, but it also hinders expansion and investment. Peak-hour traffic jams tiny country roads and quiet settlements.
Another experiment by the practise in a community where the station closed in 1965 found that restricted public transport linkages are similarly impeding economic growth and preventing citizens from accessing employment and training possibilities elsewhere.
In a strategic growth zone between London, Cambridge, and Oxford, nearby towns with stations are growing.
The town’s economic offer has been gradually declining since the station closed in 1979, according to a Placemake project in Ireland.
The adjoining town that kept its station has grown and added facilities throughout the same time. These two towns, only 5 km apart, have had such different fortunes that the latter has become the regional centre.
These studies have shown the relevance of connectivity and public transport access for economic growth and community life.
Closing ticket offices will not increase rail travel’s utilisation, efficiency, or experience without other tools to facilitate the shift to a more automated system.
Given its importance for economic, social, and environmental sustainability, we should strengthen the service rather than dismantle it.
UK at Risk of Losing Tradespeople to Foreign Jobs
Original Source: UK in danger of losing British tradespeople to jobs abroad
New study shows that almost two-thirds of UK trades are struggling to fill positions in the construction industry.
UK tradesmen are also eager to work abroad, according to new research from Rated People. After Rishi Sunak modified visa regulations for foreign tradesmen to help fill the shortage1, Rated People argues more has to be done to stabilise the industry.
The nations where UK tradespeople wish to work
UK tradesmen are moving abroad for better quality of life and employment prospects, and the latest report shows which nations are attracting our skilled employees.
Google data was studied for 15 trade vocations in 15 countries by trades platform researchers. The statistics reveal where different trades are increasingly looking for work around the world by comparing UK search volume over the past year with the prior 12 months.
Since June 2022, trade job searches in various nations have exceeded 1 million. Ten of the 15 trades are most sought after in Australia. Brazil and Spain appear once, and Saudi Arabia three times.
Over the past year, construction job searches in Saudi Arabia have increased by 293%. Cleaners are searching for jobs overseas in Australia at 183% higher rates.
Painting jobs in Australia have increased 158%, plastering jobs in Australia have increased 158%, and plumbing jobs in Saudi Arabia have increased 171%.
Other causes of the labour shortage
Brexit, the cost-of-living crisis, and a dearth of young people entering the business all adding to the industry’s skilled workforce shortage.
48% of UK adults weren’t offered a trade vocation in careers advice at school, according to the 2023 Rated People Home Improvement Trends Report. Last year, less than 10,000 students registered in T-Level courses, despite the UK government’s push to get more young people into apprenticeships.
The new endeavour has also been criticised. The UK government calls the courses “gold standard” occupational qualifications2, while Ofsted believes they are poor value, have inadequate work placements, and high dropout rates2.
Due to fewer young individuals entering the workforce, UK trade employees are getting older. According to ONS data from 2018, one in five UK-born construction employees was over 55,3 meaning they would have retired by 2023 and not enough new people are entering the business to fill the voids.
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How can the workforce shortfall be fixed?
The Government’s current move to remedy the shortage by simplifying visa rules for foreign workers is a step in the right direction, but more has to be done to fix the fundamental cause by encouraging more young people into the profession’, said Rated People CEO Adrienne Minster.
Industry opportunities should be highlighted in school careers advising. Trade occupations can offer high earnings and exceptional work-life balance, and by choosing a trade path after school, students can avoid the debt that many suffer from going to university and paying hefty tuition.
The government also has to improve T-Level qualifications and make trades businesses want to give apprenticeships so young people can learn on the job.
Sizewell C Gets £170m From the UK Government
Original Source: UK government announces £170m boost for Sizewell C nuclear project
To accelerate Sizewell C nuclear power station development in Suffolk, the UK government will pay £170m (US$219m) in additional cash. Funding will be used to secure supply chain components and hire more people.
The department of energy security and net zero provided the funding, which is in addition to last year’s £700m UK investment. With its almost £700m investment, the UK government became a 50% shareholder in the project’s development with French utility giant EDF.
Sizewell C is planned to produce low-carbon power to 6m homes over 60 years, saving the UK 9m t/y of CO2 emissions.
According to the government, UK firms would win 70% of construction contracts and 10,000 jobs will be created throughout the plant’s construction.
Like Hinkley Point C in Somerset, Sizewell C will have two reactors that will generate 3.2 GW of electricity, 7% of the UK’s total.
“The steps we’re taking…will speed up the development of one of our biggest projects, Sizewell C, towards final approval, which would enable construction to start as soon as possible, supporting thousands of jobs for communities in Suffolk and across the country,” said UK nuclear and networks minister Andrew Bowie. With government assistance, our nuclear business will produce cleaner, homegrown energy and increase our energy security by eliminating our dependency on fossil resources from abroad.”
Last year, the government’s independent planning inspectorate warned against sanctioning the project, which would be erected near to the Sizewell B plant, due to worries about water supplies and local habitats.
Kwasi Kwarteng, the business secretary, authorised the plans. He ruled, “that the very substantial and urgent need for the proposal outweighs the harms”.
The government wants to generate 24GW of the UK’s power from nuclear sources by 2050, four times the current amount.
Its goal is thwarted by the nation’s ageing nuclear power reactors. Heysham 1 in northwest England and Hartlepool in northeast England will both celebrate 40 years of electricity generating this year. The facilities’ 2014 shutdowns have been delayed until 2026. The remainder have closed or will by 2028, except Sizewell B. EDF’s pressurised water reactor Sizewell B will close in 2035.
Great British Nuclear (GBN), a new public agency, was created by the government to manage the rapid expansion of nuclear power in the UK.
GBN will assist huge projects like Sizewell C and Hinkley Point C, “the most expensive power station in the world,” as well as developing nuclear technology.
“Following the launch of GBN, and our plans for a massive revival of nuclear power, I am proud to be demonstrating the government’s commitment to the continued development of Sizewell C,” said energy security secretary Grant Shapps.
“Our new nuclear fleet will provide clean, reliable, and abundant energy while driving down bills, boosting economic growth, and ensuring that the UK is never held to energy ransom by tyrants like Putin.”
SNP MP Proposes Lowering Construction Workers’ State Pension Age
SNP MPs want construction workers’ state pension age lowered.
Midlothian MP Owen Thompson recommends early pension access for physically demanding workers “due to a higher likelihood of developing health problems”.
State pension age will climb to 67 by 2028 from 66. It will be raised to 68 by 2044–2046 by the UK government.
Thompson claimed working class individuals are “bearing the brunt” of the age rise and will die before getting their pension.
Thompson said, “Why do the working classes always suffer?
The Work and Pensions Secretary warned ministers will have to “grasp the nettle” and raise the state pension age to 68.
“Workers will suffer. Construction workers especially.
670,000 (31%) of the 2.2 million construction workers in the UK last year were 50–64.
“Scotland had 160,000 construction workers, 54,000 of whom were 50–64.
“Approximately 100,000 people 65 and older work in construction in the UK, with 4000 in Scotland.
“We’re impoverishing a generation.”
Thompson’s call follows Unite’s finding that most construction workers don’t save for retirement.
Construction workers contribute to pensions at 797,000. 36% of construction workers contribute to pensions.
The UK does not allow early state pension access.
The 2016-17 and 2021-23 State Pension age reviews discussed early access.
He said: “We need a full pensions and construction industry review.
In March, Baroness Neville-Rolfe suggested builders, electricians, plumbers, and manual labourers should be allowed to retire on a state pension earlier than officer workers who continued their schooling.
Her research recommended that the UK Government allow manual employees to receive their pension assets early.
She advised early pension access for people “who have performed physically demanding roles over many years” due to a higher risk of health issues.
We have no change, no push to aid working people. Lame-duck government.
“A full review is the first step to righting this wrong and preventing an entire generation from being financially discarded.
“Poverty in retirement is the ultimate indignity for construction workers.
Construction workers literally built this nation. They deserve much better.”
DWP spokesperson: “For 75 years the state pension has had a single issue and receipt date, there are currently no plans to change this.”
Summary of today’s construction news
Overall we discussed that Railways are a sustainable mode of transportation, and Placemake’s David Edwards thinks the system should be improved, not weakened. From the smallest of shops to the largest of metropolises, transportation is an absolute must. Meanwhile, a recent study reveals that 66 percent of UK trades have difficulty hiring for construction-related positions. According to recent data compiled by Rated People, tradespeople from the United Kingdom are also keen to work overseas. Furthermore, the government of the United Kingdom has pledged an extra £170m (about $219m) to speed up construction of the Sizewell C nuclear power facility in Suffolk. The funds will be utilised to purchase elements of the supply chain and to increase staffing levels. In addition, Midlothian MP Owen Thompson suggests early pension access for individuals with physically demanding jobs “due to a higher likelihood of developing health problems.” In 2028, the minimum age for receiving a state pension will increase from 66 to 67. By 2044–2046, the UK government plans to raise it to 68.