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Saudi Arabia to build world's tallest tower

Standing at over 1,000 meters (3,280 feet), the Kingdom Tower in Saudi Arabia is set to become the world's tallest tower, beating its closest rival Burj Khalifa in Dubai by nearly 600 feet.

According to CNN, the building is expected to cost £716 million ($1.2 billion)it will be constructed in Jeddah and the building will be situated along the coast of the Red Sea.

The world’s tallest tower has finally been given a start date to begin construction. Credit: Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture

One feature will be a sky terrace on the 157th floor and when completed it will become the highest terrace in the world.

The sky terrace could become the highest terrace in the world once completed. Credit: Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture

The building will be designed by Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture and will require about 5.7 million square-feet of concrete, and 80,000 tons of steel, according to the Saudi Gazette.

The top 5 buildings in the world:

Burj Khalifa, Dubai, UAE - 2,717 ft

Shanghai Tower, Shanghai, China - 2,073 ft

Makkah Royal Clock Tower Hotel, Mecca , Saudi Arabia - 1,971 ft

One World Trade Center, New York City, USA - 1,776 ft

Taipei 101, Taipei, Taiwan - 1,670 ft

Comedian 'shocked' to be on construction blacklist

Comedian Mark Thomas said he was "shocked" after discovering his name on a blacklist drawn up for construction companies.

Comedian Mark Thomas discovered he was on a builders' blacklist. Credit: EMPICS Entertainment

He said he was not "massively surprised" to see his name had been included on secret files of thousands of mainly building workers - many of them do not know they are on the list.

Thomas's name was found by the GMB union, which is pursuing compensation on behalf of a number of its members and others such as environmental activists.

The comedian said: "I wasn't massively surprised, but I was shocked. I don't work in the construction industry, although I have been involved in campaigns against the activities of building firms. But to include a comic in all of this is just nuts."

Thomas said he suspected the police colluded with construction firms to collect information.

He said: "This needs to be highlighted and the police should be held to account. There has to be a proper investigation, such as a parliamentary inquiry to make sure this kind of behaviour is outlawed."

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Alarm over skills shortage

The UK is facing a "critical" lack of skilled workers as firms struggle to recruit suitably-qualified staff, experts have warned.

A survey of almost 300 companies by the CBI found a "stubborn shortage" in the skills industry needs to remain competitive and fuel long-term growth.

The study showed that three out of five firms were struggling to recruit workers with the advanced technical skills they need, and feared shortages will persist for the next three years.

Almost half lacked confidence in being able to take on high-skilled workers, especially in manufacturing, construction and engineering.

One in two of those polled revealed they had to put on basic remedial training for employees, and 55% said school-leavers lacked the right work experience.

Construction industry 'shrinks by 10%'

The construction industry has shrunk by 10%, with the loss of 89,000 jobs, since the coalition Government came to power, according to a new study.

File photo of a general view of roof workers building new houses. Credit: Rui Vieira/PA Wire

Cuts to publicly-funded projects were the main reason for the slump, which has led output to be at its lowest level since 1998, research by the Trades Union Congress showed.

The coalition has reduced support for public construction works by over 27%, while spending on school, hospital and transport building projects has been slashed by over 37%, said the union organisation.

The fall in public sector building projects has not been made up by the private sector, which has also seen a decline in construction work since the coalition was formed, said the report.

Health of the British economy sector by sector

This is how the different sectors of the British economy have performed in the first three months of this year:

  • Agriculture, forestry and fishing - Fell by 3.7 percent compared with 0.5 percent contraction in the previous quarter.
  • Construction - Output decreased by 2.5 percent capping off a 5.9 percent decrease in the year to March 2013.
  • Production - Grew by 0.2 percent following a decrease of 2.1 percent in the previous quarter. This growth was driven by mining and quarrying, and electricity supply.
  • Services - 0.6 percent growth was the driving force behind the growth in overall GDP. This picture of positive growth was seen across the sector.

George Osborne: 'We are making progress'

The Treasury have tweeted reaction to the latest GDP figures:

Finally the Treasury tweeted: "…but by continuing to confront our problems head on, Britain is recovering and we are building an economy fit for the future."

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Triple-dip recession avoided as GDP grows 0.3%

Britain has avoided a triple-dip recession according to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics.

The figures showed that GDP grew by 0.3 percent in the first three months of this year.

A recession is defined as two or more consecutive quarters of negative economic growth.

Read: Britain's previous two periods of recession

UN official 'appalled' by UK blacklisting scandal

Maina Kiai, the UN special rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, said he was "appalled" to hear about the blacklisting of union members in the UK construction industry.

Speaking on a trip to London, he said: "It is crucial that strong actions be taken against the making and using of such lists as a deterrence."

Jobs have been 'influenced' by infrastructure investment

This morning it's been revealed the construction industry has been one of the biggest casualties of the economic downturn over the last year.

Peter Cheese, the Chief Executive of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development spoke to ITV Daybreak, he said the bigger projects in construction have not surfaced, which has affected jobs.

Construction industry hit by public spending cuts

The construction industry was hit last year by public spending cuts and a lack of investment in the private sector, according to a report from the Construction Skills Network.

By 2017 construction output will still be 12% down on its 2007 peak, and employment 17% down on its peak in 2008.

We don't anticipate the industry returning to its former levels until at least 2022, meaning this will be one of the most difficult periods for construction on record.

– Judy Lowe, Spokeswoman

The report added that recruitment is set to run at under 30,000 a year from now until 2017, to fill vacancies arising from workers leaving.

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