Conservatives, Labour and the Lib Dems all seem to be trying to outbid each other in their spending pledges, so just how much are they committing and where?
As the UK readies itself for its third general election since 2015 the major parties are all laying out their plans for the country’s future should they be elected.
With housing, infrastructure and sustainability, as well as education and health capital spend, all likely to figure highly in the 12 December ballot is set to be pivotal for construction.
Take a look at how the race for the 2019 general election is shaping up for construction.
What are the Conservatives promising?
- The Conservatives will offer tenants in new housing association properties the right to shared ownership of their home.
- They intend to extend the Help to Buy scheme from 2021 to 2023 and have a target to create 300,000 homes a year by the mid-2020s.
- The Conservatives will amend planning rules so that the infrastructure – roads, schools, GP surgeries – comes before people move into new homes, and their new £10bn Single Housing Infrastructure Fund will speed up the process.
- The party will invest £6.3bn for environmental upgrades to homes, such as grants for improving boilers and insulation.
- The Conservatives intend to invest £100bn over five years on road, rail and other infrastructure.
- A new Conservative government would provide an additional £500m into EV charging infrastructure and new electric vehicles, ensuring there was a chargepoint within 30 miles of each home in England and Wales.
- In terms of transport, the Conservatives plan to build the Northern Powerhouse, invest in the Midlands Rail Hub, improve train lines to the South-west and East Anglia, extend contactless pay-as-you-go ticketing to almost 200 more stations in the South Eastand restore many of the Beeching lines.
- The party have promised to commit more than £4bn to a fund public transport in the Midlands and the North.
- Plus, the party will give city regions the funding to upgrade their bus, tram and train services to make them as good as London’s and they plan to invest £28.8bn in strategic and local roads, as well as invest £2bn in dealing with potholes.
- The Conservatives have expressed their support for a third runway at Heathrow and will consider the findings of the Oakervee review to assess the optimal outcome for the development of HS2.
- Boris Johnson says there is “substantial doubt” over whether the Heathrow’s operators could meet the criteria he has set for it in his party’s manifesto to allow for the expansion to continue. He singled out air quality and noise pollution targets. He also said he “guessed” the scheme.
- The Conservatives have stated initiatives towards a net zero target on carbon emissions by 2050.
- They plan to prioritise the environment in the next budget, investing in the infrastructure, science and research that will deliver economic growth, not just through the 2020s but also for later years.
- The Conservatives plan to help lower energy bills by investing £9.2bn in the energy efficiency of homes, schools and hospitals.
Other public spending that will impact construction
- The Conservative party plans to invest £2.7bn for six new hospitals and has plans for 34 more over the next 10 years.
- In a Sunday Times interview Boris Johnson says while unskilled workers will be eligible for short-term visas in sectors where there are employee shortages under those visas, “there is no pathway to residency.”
- The Migration Advisory Committee would be given boosted powers to set visa quotas for certain sectors.
- Johnson has pledged to introduce tax breaks for the construction and research and development industries.
>> Your say: 2019 general election and construction survey
>> Anaylsis: What does construction need from the 2019 general election?
What is Labour promising?
- The Labour party has promised a £75bn “housing revolution”, along with what it promises will be “the biggest council housebuilding programme in decades”. As part of its manifesto, unveiled on 21 November, Labour said if it wins the general election on it will commit to building 100,000 council homes a year through to the end of the next Parliament.
- Labour aims to introduce a £1bn Fire Safety Fund to fit sprinklers and other fire safety measures in all high-rise council and housing association tower blocks, enforce the replacement of dangerous Grenfell-style cladding on all high-rise homes and buildings.
- It will also introduce mandatory building standards and guidance, inspected and enforced by fully trained Fire and Rescue Service fire safety officers.
- It also promises to partner with housing associations and deliver 50,000 “genuinely affordable” social homes annually over the same period.
- It will introduce a long-term investment plan that includes delivering Northern Powerhouse Rail and completing the full HS2 route to Scotland.
- The party has promised £250bn of lending for enterprise, infrastructure and innovation over 10 years.
- Labour intends to renationalise the railways and said it would reduce the price of season tickets and other regulated fares by a third, and simplify the current ticketing system.
- It aims to deliver nearly 90% of electricity and 50% of heat from renewable and low-carbon sources by 2030.The plan is to build 9,000 new wind turbines (both on-shore and off-shore),enough solar panels to cover 22,000 football pitches, as well as new nuclear power needed for energy security.
- Labour will trial and expand tidal energy and invest to reduce the costs of renewable and low-carbon hydrogen production.
- They will also introduce a zero-carbon homes standard for all new homes and upgrade almost all of the UK’s homes to the highest energy-efficiency standards, reducing the average household energy bill by £417 per household per year by 2030 and eliminating fuel poverty.
- Labour wants to change the criteria on the London Stock Exchange so that any company that fails to contribute to tackling the climate and environmental emergency is delisted.
- In addition, the party will launch a Climate Apprenticeship programme to enable employers to develop the skills needed to lead the world in clean technology, and employers will be expected to allocate 25% of the funds in their Apprenticeship Levy accounts to training Climate Apprentices.
Other promises that will affect construction
- Corbyn has promised to create a climate apprenticeship programme to deliver 320,000 apprenticeships in England during its first term in government, and 886,000 by 2030. He said: “Climate apprenticeships will offer training to school leavers and workers looking to change jobs mid-career, creating the engineers, technicians and construction workers we need to transition to a green economy.
What are the Liberal Democrats promising?
- The Liberal Democrat party has promised new direct spending on housebuilding to help build 300,000 homes a year by 2024, including 100,000 social homes.
- A Lib Dem administration would establish a new “Rent to Own” scheme for social housing where rent payments gave tenants an increasing stake in the property, allowing them to own it outright after 30 years.
- The party is also proposing a “Help to Rent” scheme to provide government-backed tenancy deposit loans for all first-time renters under 30.
- The Liberal Democrats plan to invest £15bn over the next Parliament to retrofit insulation in 26 million homes.
- Other housing pledges included allowing local authorities to increase council tax by up to 500% where properties are bought as second homes, and placing a stamp duty surcharge on overseas residents purchasing such properties.
- The party has promised to introduce a capital £50bn Regional Rebalancing Programme for infrastructure spend across the nations and regions of the UK, with local and devolved authorities given a say in how it is use. More broadly, the party has promised a £130bn package of infrastructure investment.
- The party has committed to press ahead with the delivery of HS2, Crossrail 2 and other major new strategic rail routes.
- But it has said it will not proceed with the expansion of Heathrow or any other airport expansion in the South-east.
- As part of its carbon-reduction and energy-efficiency drive, the party said it would require all new homes and non-domestic buildings to be built to a zero-carbon standard by 2021, “rising to a more ambitious Passivhaus standard by 2025”.
- The party also has plans for an emergency 10-year programme to reduce energy consumption from all the UK’s buildings, cutting emissions and fuel bills and ending fuel poverty.
- The Lib Dems plan to spend £20bn a year for five years to tackle climate change.
- The party plans to have a climate action plan to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2045 and generate 80% of electricity from renewables by 2030.
Other public spending that will impact construction
- The party has pledged capital investment in schools and hospitals to support capacity increases and modernisation.