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Issue:- 09 January 2015

Missing - Adam Whitehurst from Southport, Merseyside

MERSEYSIDE Police are appealing for the public's help in tracing a man who has been missing from the Churchtown area of Southport. Adam Whitehurst was last seen by his wife at around 10 am on New Year's Eve, on Wednesday, 31 December 2014. The 34 year old is described as white, about 6ft 1 inch tall and has short straight brown hair, a slight stubble and blue eyes. He was last seen wearing a dark grey thick North Face jacket with a hood, dark grey/blue tracksuit bottoms and brown loafer shoes. He was riding a red mountain bike. Adam is known to frequent the Southport, Cheshire and Manchester area. Police are becoming increasingly concerned about his whereabouts and would urge anyone who knows where Adam is, or has seen a man resembling him, to contact Merseyside Police on:- 0151 934 4556, the Police non-emergency number on:- 101 or the Missing People Charity on:- 116 000.

Private commercial fuels growth in North West despite rise in skills shortages

CONSTRUCTION workloads dipped in the North West in the final quarter of 2014, but the private commercial sector saw the strongest growth, despite the shortage of bricklayers reaching a record high according to RICS.  

42% more chartered surveyors in the North West reported that workloads in the construction sector had grown in Q4 2014, and 58% more respondents said that the private commercial sector was fuelling the greatest growth, followed by the private housing sector (43%).  Around 60% of respondents reported that material shortages, skill shortages and financial constraints were impeding further sector growth, whilst 52% more chartered surveyors in the North West also reported a shortage of 'other construction professionals' (non quantity surveyors or blue collar workers); the 2nd consecutive quarterly rise. Despite these factors and anecdotal evidence that the upcoming election in May is creating industry uncertainty, confidence in the North West remains firm with 72% more respondents expecting workloads to increase and 51% anticipating profit over the next 12 months to increase. Chartered surveyors in the region anticipate growth in workloads of 3.4% in 2015, with jobs in the sector expected to rise by a further 3%. Elsewhere, the infrastructure sector continued to see what has been a much steadier pace of growth over the last 12 months and in Q4 2014, just 19% more respondents reported a rise in workload activity in the North West.

Fred Slater of Arcus Consulting (based in Manchester and Liverpool) said:- "New projects and opportunities are on the increase, but the fee levels that consultants; and perhaps contractors; are winning work at, is still very competitive and we continue to find new work difficult to come by, especially when in competition. The main challenge is certainly skills availability, now that numerous people have left the industry, given the depth of the recent recession. The result is, individuals requesting very high rates of pay which cannot necessarily be accommodated within the winning fee bid or from a contractor's perspective, the tender sum."

RICS Director of the Built Environment, Alan Muse, said:-
"Labour shortages have become increasingly onerous in every area of the sector since the industry began to recover in mid 2013, with bricklayers and quantity surveyors in particularly short supply. Now that workloads are rising and optimism is growing, the practical challenges are in providing the skilled labour the industry needs and in alleviating the financial constraints, which saw 9 months of decreased lending in 2014. The political challenges in the run-up to the election are around shoring up industry confidence to ensure the framework for effective planning and delivery of projects are in place to create long-term growth that is spread across the UK. This will also enable the investment that the industry needs to raise productivity and encourage new training initiatives."

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