The major political parties have revealed their manifestos for the general election on 8 June. For the construction sector,
the three top concerns are the impact of Brexit, housing and infrastructure.
With nearly 200,000 EU workers in the UK, the industry is unanimous in its demand for the incoming government to make it a priority to guarantee the status of existing EU nationals currently working in the UK and then implement a migration system that ensures the industry continues to attract talent from the EU and across the world. The housing crisis is an ongoing issue with the construction industry calling on all the parties to pledge to increase housebuilding as well as focus on the quality and delivery of newly built homes. The NFB has welcomed measures to increase opportunities for SME house builders but maintained that land, along with finance and planning, remains an issue for small builders. Continued infrastructure investment is also top of most organisations’ wish list for any future government.
Labour is “declaring war” on late payments and will demand that all bidders for government contracts pay their own suppliers in 30 days. The Tories are proposing a similar policy, which would mean that businesses that don’t abide by the Prompt Payment Code will lose the right to bid for government contracts. Also, the Tories are pledging to make one-third of their purchases from SMEs by the end of the next parliament.
The Lib Dems want to double the number of businesses that hire apprentices, to develop national colleges to deliver high-level vocational skills and to increase advice in schools about entrepreneurship and self-employment. They will also encourage all schools to participate more with businesses.
Labour wants to create a National Education Service for England, double the number of completed apprenticeships at NVQ level 3 by 2022, and protect funding to SMEs that hire apprentices. The Conservatives are planning to launch new vocational qualifications called T-levels covering 15 subjects including construction, creative and design, digital, engineering and manufacturing, health and science. They also plan to establish new institutes of technology in every major city in England. They have also reaffirmed a commitment to deliver three million apprenticeships by 2020.