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12th March 2018
Despite years of austerity, more than a quarter of the construction industry’s top 100 clients are either county councils or local authorities.
According to Glenigan’s contracts leagues for the 12 months to the end of February 2018, 28 of the top 100 clients are some form of unitary authority, and aggregate spending has risen.
The top 100 clients are behind £29.6 billion-worth of work and £5 billion of that total comes from councils. At the same stage in 2017, the 27 councils in the top 100 had committed to spending of £3.9 billion.
The highest ranked local body in the latest tables is the Greater London Authority in 11th place after letting £494.9 million-worth of work although nearly half of this work comes from Transport for London.
The biggest spending county council is Surrey County Council with orders of £302.8 million, which puts the authority in 20th place. Surrey has teamed up with Woking Borough Council for the Market Square development in Woking. A half-share of this project puts Woking BC in 26th place with orders totalling £245.9 million.
Three other county councils are in the top 100 with Hampshire in 55th (with orders of £156.0 million), Cambridgeshire in 72nd (£131.6 million) and Cardiff a place behind (£131.0 million)
There are seven London boroughs in the top 100 and the highest ranked is Ealing in 17th with awards of £388.7 million including the £155 million regeneration of the Green Man Estate in West London. Next highest is Camden with spending of £256.2 million, which merits 27th place.
Other London boroughs in the top 100 include Lewisham in 46th (orders of £175.5 million), Tower Hamlets in 57th (£151.1 million), Hounslow in 66th (£142.2 million), Waltham Forest in 70th (£134.4 million) and Sutton in 97th (£97.4 million).
In addition to these London boroughs, Westminster City Council is also in 79th place with spending of £120.2 million
The bulk of Camden’s total comes from a joint venture with British Land for the £200 million One Triton Square development, which has been let to Lendlease and is about to start on site.
Other councils are also teaming up with private developers. Manchester City Council is ranked 39th with spending of £202.3 million. A quarter of that total comes from a share of the £110 million MIF Factory project, which the council is working on with Allied London.
Also, in the North West, Warrington Borough Council is ranked 45th with spending of £176.1 million on projects including the £50 million Bridge Street Quarter. Warrington is working on that scheme and a £19.6 million office scheme on Academy Way with Morgan Sindall.
Instead of working with the private sector, some local authorities are merging to increase spending power, such as the West Midlands Combined Authority, which is a grouping of 12 local authorities and three Local Enterprise Partnerships and ranked in 35th place with spending of £220.8 million.
However, 17 of the 28 councils in the top 100 are in southern England. Those 17 councils are behind £3.4 billion-worth of spending, which illustrates that the north-south divide remains as clear as ever.
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