BLOG - The election and building pledges

Posted by Robert Norman on Apr 30 - 2015
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Building pledges - what the election means for the construction sector

The General Election is set to be close with wide-ranging challenges for the next government. All three of the main parties are aware that construction, housing, infrastructure and planning are key areas that can help the economy grow.

So who has pledged what to help these industries succeed in 2015 and beyond?

 

Growth in Britain's construction industry slowed in March as firms choose to delay spending decisions until after May.

New job creation was also subdued, slumping to its lowest level since December 2013.

But, in a sign of growing optimism about their fortunes, construction companies reported their best outlook for the year ahead since February 2006.

This is because all political parties are promising robust expansion.

Vote winner

Politicians are aware that tackling the need for good quality and affordable housing and supporting sustainable developments are likely to be key weapons in the fight for government.

This is why these elements are being discussed and dissected as part of the manifestos this week.

Research by public procurement body Scrape predicts that, as a result, the property and construction sectors will grow after the general election regardless of who is in power.

But what is each party promising?

The Conservative Party

 The Conservatives have pledged 200,000 homes will be made available to first-time buyers in England by 2020 if they win the election.

This will be made possible thanks to the first-time buyers' ISA – anidea unveiled by George Osbourne which is designed to help people get a foot on the housing ladder.

It allows the government to top up by £50 every £200 a first-time buyer saves for a deposit.

Labour supports the policy but says further action is needed to address the "under supply" of homes.

The Labour Party

Banks would be encouraged to fund 125,000 new homes for first-time buyers in England under a Labour government, Ed Miliband said.

This would be based on the first-time buyer ISAs announced by George Osborne but Labour says it would invest the money in new housing developments.

The party has already committed to building 200,000 new homes every year by the end of the next Parliament but this scheme is aimed at getting the policy moving.

The Conservatives said the concept was "ill thought-through".

The Liberal Democrats

The Lib Dems have pledged to build 300,000 homes a year and help first-time buyers get on the property ladder through a "rent-to-own homes" scheme.

In response the Labour Party has attacked the Coalition government's record on house building, which he said had fallen to its lowest level in almost 100 years and made it harder for people to own homes.

In the hands of the politicians

Homes are clearly at the heart of the election.

But politicians need to be careful of making promises they cannot fulfill.

After all a big part of the next challenge is to address issues such as ensuring we have enough skilled people to support the growth needed in the sector.

 

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