Building’s frequently-updated policy tracker will keep you up to speed on the latest pledges and announcements made by the parties in the run up to polling day

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Updated: 24 April 2024

Keeping track of what the two main parties in England stand for can be a headache these days given the amount of U-turns seen in the past few months.

Both Labour and the Conservatives have rowed back on green pledges that had previously been at the centre of their economic visions.

Housing targets seem to have been kept deliberately vague, future phases of HS2 are all but dead, and there might be some planning reforms in the mix somewhere, although what these will be is anyone’s guess.

But while it is likely to be some time before any full manifestos are published, both main political parties have given the public a sense of what will be on offer at the upcoming election.

Below is a list of where the Conservatives and Labour currently stand on six key construction policy areas. 

Building will update and expand this list as more detail emerges in the coming months.

Policy areaConservativesLabour

Housing

  • No mandatory housebuilding targets for local authorities

  • 250,000 new homes in Cambridge

  • Mandatory housebuilding targets for local authorities

  • 1.5 million new homes over a five-year period

  • New towns

  • 150,000 social and affordable homes a year

 

 

Planning

  • Restrictions on time extension agreements between councils and applicants on planning decisions

  • Performance league tables for time taken to make planning decisions

  • Design standards for “gentle urban development”

  • Planning passports for developers which meet design standards, allowing easier brownfield development

  • Create new ‘grey belt’ land class for poor quality areas of the green belt with requirement for at least 50% affordable housing

Infrastructure

  • No northern HS2 leg between Birmingham and Manchester

  • £4.7bn for small projects in the North and Midlands, taken from scrapped HS2 funds

  • Independent inquiry into HS2 to look into how future projects can avoid cost overruns

  • Fully committed to Northern Powerhouse Rail

Skills

  • Proposed ‘Advanced British Standard’ to replace A levels and T levels with a single qualifiacation

  • Revamped apprenticeship levy to fund specialist training colleges

Net zero

  • Exemptions to boiler ban for some households

  • Heat pump grant increase from £5,000 to £7,500

  • £15bn on green investment a year (£4.7bn of which is new money)

  • Upgrade five million homes to an EPC C rating over the course of the parliament

  • Decarbonise UK power by 2030 under new body, Great British Energy

Election focus 

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As thoughts turn towards the next general election, the UK is facing some serious problems.

Low growth, flatlining productivity, question marks over net zero funding and capability, skills shortages and a worsening housing crisis all amount to a daunting in-tray for the next government.

This year’s general election therefore has very high stakes for the built environment and the economy as a whole. For this reason,

Building is launching its most in-depth election coverage yet, helping the industry to understand the issues in play and helping to amplify construction’s voice so that the government hears it loud and clear.

Building is investigating the funding gaps facing the next government’s public sector building programmes, looking at the policy options available to the political parties. 

In the coming months our Building Talks podcast will focus on perhaps the hottest political topic: the housing crisis. The podcast will feature interviews with top industry names who side-step soundbites in favour of in-depth discussions.

As the main parties ramp up their policy announcements, we will keep you up to date with their latest pledges on our website through our “policy tracker”.

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