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UKCW Blog

05 Jul 2024

LABOUR PARTY ELECTION VICTORY: WHAT IT MEANS FOR THE CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY

LABOUR PARTY ELECTION VICTORY: WHAT IT MEANS FOR THE CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY

In a historic turn of events, the Labour Party has secured a decisive victory in the UK General Election, propelling Keir Starmer into the role of Prime Minister with a strong mandate. With this win comes a sweeping agenda aimed at revitalising the construction sector and addressing critical national challenges. Here’s what the Labour Party promise to deliver: 

 

Planning Reform to Build 1.5 Million New Homes 

At the heart of Labour's ambitious plans is a comprehensive overhaul of the planning system. Immediate actions include updating the National Policy Planning Framework and reinstating mandatory housing targets. This move aims to streamline the planning process and accelerate the delivery of 1.5 million new homes across the UK. 

Labour pledges to strengthen the presumption in favour of sustainable development and ensure planning authorities maintain up-to-date Local Plans. Additional funding for planning officers will bolster local authorities, while an increased stamp duty surcharge on non-UK residents will further support housing initiatives. 

Strategic planning will be enhanced through new cross-boundary mechanisms, requiring Combined and Mayoral Authorities to strategically plan for housing growth. These authorities will gain expanded powers and greater flexibility in utilising grant funding. Furthermore, Labour proposes reforms to compulsory purchase rules to expedite land assembly and site delivery, crucial for overcoming current development barriers. 

 

Introducing Skills England 

Recognising the urgent need to address skills shortages, Labour introduces Skills England—a bold initiative aimed at transforming post-16 education and vocational training. Under this initiative, every 18- to 21-year-old will receive guaranteed training, an apprenticeship, or assistance in finding employment, ensuring a skilled workforce aligned with Labour's Industrial Strategy. 

Skills England will collaborate closely with businesses, training providers, unions, and governmental bodies to tailor training programmes to meet the evolving demands of the labour market. This initiative will also oversee the transformation of Further Education colleges into specialised Technical Excellence Colleges, fostering closer ties between education and industry to enhance job prospects for young people. 

To reform the current Apprenticeships Levy, Labour plans to introduce a flexible Growth and Skills Levy. This revamped system will ensure that courses funded through the levy deliver tangible value and relevance to both learners and employers. 

 

Infrastructure and Environment 

Labour's agenda extends beyond housing and skills to encompass broad infrastructure and environmental reforms. Plans include merging the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) and Infrastructure Projects Authority (IPA) into a unified body, Nista, to streamline infrastructure projects and improve delivery efficiency. 

Improvements in rail connectivity across the North of England, extensive road repairs to fix potholes and enhanced community resilience against extreme weather events are also on the agenda. Labour pledges to bring railways into public ownership and accelerate the transition to clean energy, aiming for clean energy reliance by 2030 and subsequent net-zero emissions. 

Furthermore, Labour commits to completing the Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant and scaling up the deployment of small modular reactors (SMRs) to meet the nation's energy needs sustainably. 

The Labour Party's victory marks a pivotal moment in British politics, promising transformative changes that will shape the future of the construction industry and the broader economy. As these reforms take shape, stakeholders across sectors eagerly anticipate the positive impact on housing availability, infrastructure development, environmental sustainability and workforce readiness in the years to come. 

 

UK Construction Week, taking place this autumn between October 1-3, will offer a unique platform for policymakers and builders to convene, fostering discussions on how to translate these manifesto promises into actionable strategies. 

Secure your complimentary spot here

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