The construction industry has raised concerns over Liberal Democrat policies after the leaders’ TV debate raised the possibility of the party helping to form the next government.

The party would abandon Labour’s plans to build nuclear power stations and prisons. It would also raise VAT on new-build housing and take on aspects of the Tories’ localism agenda.

Stephen Ratcliffe, director of the UK Contractors Group, said: “We’re disappointed with the curb on nuclear in particular, and very unhappy to see the planning regime appearing to go backwards.”

John Slaughter, director of policy at the Home Builders Federation, said: “It is perplexing that there is not a single positive policy for encouraging private sector new-build housing.”

Meanwhile, writing in Building this week, Labour leader Gordon Brown pledged to “see through” the £55bn Building Schools for the Future programme, if elected.

On housing, he said this year marked the “largest council housebuilding programme for two decades”. He added: “We will allow councils to keep all rent receipts from their tenants. As they use that to reduce their debt, they will be given flexibility to refocus on building homes.”