The Conservatives have dropped Crossrail 2 from their manifesto while the Institue for Fiscal Studies has derided both major parties

Joey Gardiner

The election has, of course, taken something of a back seat next to the appalling events in Manchester. UKIP was the first party to come back to the campaign stump, becoming one of the last parties to unveil its manifesto. Construction consultant Mark Farmer, who last year recommended a wholesale shift in the industry toward modular and off-site construction, looks to have found an unlikely supporter in the anti-EU party, with UKIP building its housing policy around a pledge for the public sector to build up to 100,000 off-site homes each year with money saved from the EU’s £1bn regional development budget. UKIP’s manifesto also called for the scrapping of HS2 and the Heathrow third runway project.

Neither sets out an honest set of choices. Neither addresses the long-term challenges we face.

Carl Emmerson, deputy director for IFS

Probably of more significance to construction was the report in the Guardian that Theresa May’s government has lost faith in the £32bn Crossrail 2 project, previously supported by George Osborne. The project was not mentioned in the Conservative manifesto, despite former prime minister David Cameron committing the party to it in the 2015 election. Crossrail 2 is a key priority for London mayor Sadiq Khan, needed to unlock sites for thousands of homes, and this latest setback follows Building’s story last month that the election had delayed progress on the project. The Guardian report said the manifesto omission was “the clearest sign yet that there is little appetite in a Theresa May government for another London-based scheme”.

Meanwhile, the respected Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) derided both Labour and Conservative manifestos in its assessment, published last Friday. IFS deputy director Carl Emmerson said that Labour’s plan, which includes a promise to build 100,000 affordable homes a year, falsely implies it can “all be funded by faceless corporations and ‘the rich’,” and that the Conservatives’ proposals include “unacknowledged risks to the quality of public services.” In total, he said: “Neither sets out an honest set of choices. Neither addresses the long-term challenges we face.”

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