Glenigan has released a comprehensive report outlining how the results of the 2015 General Election could impact the UK construction industry.
According to Glenigan, the Government is the construction industry’s biggest client, accounting for over a quarter of work awarded to the sector.
The industry analyst firm believes that the economy and the budget deficit will be the key battlegrounds that will determine the future of construction over the next Parliament. With all main parties committed to cutting public spending but also deliver greater investment in housing and energy efficiency measures, a lot rides on the outcome of May 7’s vote.
When it comes to the economy, Allan Wil‚n, economics director for Glenigan, believes the Conservatives are perceived as holding the best track record, but Labour’s plans for spending leave more room for public sector construction spending. The Tories’ plan for an EU referendum could also cause a wave of uncertainty that would put a halt on private sector investment.
Despite these issues, tackling the UK housing crisis is considered a priority across the board. Therefore, Glenigan has predicted that whichever party – or parties – enter Government following the Election, housing will be an immediate concern and so the house-building industry will be expected to demonstrate it has the capacity to deliver new homes at a fast rate.
The methods of how this will be done differ between each party’s policies. Anna Haswell, senior political analyst at Dehavillard, said:
“Tensions are clear on housing, where Conservative policy has focused on shoring up ownership through Help to Buy mortgage support and social home sales. Labour, meanwhile, has increasingly advocated for “Generation Rent” – whose plight the party has tied to its energy bill crusade through promises to improve efficiency standards.
“Elsewhere, both parties are looking to build, though the Tories have pledged to achieve Starter Homes through waives on construction costs, while Labour has preferred to take developers to task over the impact of land banking.”
The other issue that Glenigan believes will have a large impact on construction is how the next Government will tackle energy, specifically how to improve the energy efficiency of existing building stock. It is widely accepted that the Green Deal has failed to attract the demand that was expected, meaning that all parties have had to readdress their approach to this issue.
Glenigan believes that Labour’s proposal to provide interest free improvement loans and the Liberal Democrat’s plans for a council tax rebate for energy efficient homes appear to be steps in the right direction. Additionally, the Green Party intends to provide a free home insulation programme for all homes that need it, with priority given to pensioners and those living in fuel poverty.
Meanwhile, the only policy from the Conservatives to be included in Glenigan’s report is the continued phasing out of the Energy Company Obligation (ECO), which will make further cuts to funding available for home energy efficiency improvements.
With little between the Conservatives and Labour in opinion polls, Glenigan has claimed that a hung parliament leading to either a minority or coalition Government is likely. Unlike the last election in 2010, Glenigan has suggested that should Labour require support from a smaller party, the Liberal Democrats could prove to be a political ally when policy is to be decid