THREE construction industry bosses have put their names to a letter from business leaders backing Labour, published in The Times on Monday.
Allan Leighton, chairman of housebuilder Wilcon, Sir Duncan Michael, chairman of Arup's trustees, and Stef Stefanou, chairman of specialist contractor John Doyle, signed the letter from 58 business leaders showing their support for Tony Blair in the run-up to next month's election.

Other industry leaders threw their support behind Labour, saying it offered business more than the other parties. But they also said it had to invest more in the national infrastructure.

In The Times letter, the executives said business leaders should consider the negative implications of a change in government on employees and trading prospects.

They said Labour had done much to create a stable business environment and noted that there was a growing sense of enterprise and innovation in the UK that boded well for the future.

The letter said: "Such achievements have been hard won and are based on the tough economic decisions taken by the government in its first two years of office. Economic stability benefits citizens and business alike."

Stefanou said the construction industry should be looking forward to the future with confidence thanks to the Labour government's policies.

He said: "Throughout the life of this government, the construction industry has enjoyed a steady increase in activity without overheating." He added that construction minister Nick Raynsford had performed well.

However, Stefanou did have criticisms of Labour's performance in office. Echoing other industry voices, he said the government lacked a clear strategic plan for the £20bn investment in the rail network.

The construction industry has enjoyed a steady increase in activity without overheating

John Doyle chairman Stef Stefanou on why he signed the letter

He also criticised the political and administrative system at local and European Union levels. "I would like to see more procurement based on best value and less European-led bureaucracy interfering with our business," Stefanou said. "I would like to get rid of the mountains of 'Euro' paperwork we seem to have to deal with."

Colin Busby, chief executive of Kier, said Labour would be better for the construction sector than the alternatives. He said history supported that view.

Mansell chief executive Philip Cleaver said he thought that Labour had done a pretty good job when it was in government, but added that it now had to focus on public spending.

He said: "It's taken far too long to see the actual spend on sectors such as health, education and housing."

Other companies and leaders were less forthcoming. Carillion said it was politically neutral. A spokesperson said: "The board has taken the conscious decision to remain neutral. It has been an issue in the past."

John Morgan, chairman of Morgan Sindall, refused to reveal his political allegiance: "I can't see the point of putting my name to any political party. I'm not really prepared to divulge who I'm voting for. I wish it was more exciting, though – it's bit boring that it's a one-horse race."