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UK Election – Labour win – Robbie Blackhurst Founder and Director of Black Capital Group

UK Election - Labour win - Robbie Blackhurst Founder and Director of Black Capital Group

“The UK wakes up to a new government today after 14 years of Conservative rule. For the built environment, Labour’s return will be met with wary anticipation. While its manifesto pledges made a good read for a sector that has experienced ongoing skills shortages, rising costs and lacklustre growth, delivering on them will be another matter. Just think back to the success of the Conservatives “New Deal” promise to “Build, Build, Build”…

“Labour’s vowed rollout of a 10-year infrastructure strategy to “end the chaos” of the UK’s “crumbling infrastructure” has some interesting, though not necessarily revolutionary, ideas. Delivering 1.5 million new homes in England sounds impressive, but there is already a backlog of 4.3 million homes. Regardless, it is a good starting point if Labour can overcome the challenges faced by previous governments. 

“Housebuilding has long been stifled by planning policy, However Labour’s promise to slash red tape and give combined authorities much needed new powers are to be welcomed, though have yet to be tested by locals and environmentalists, furious about green belt land being redesignated for development.

“To meet its housing target, Labour must help the construction industry get back on its feet. Its first step will be addressing the ongoing skills crisis. The Apprenticeship Levy, for example, has not been fit for purpose for some time. Apprenticeship starts have severely declined and completion rates have plummeted.

“It’s replacement, the Growth and Skills Levy, will certainly prove very attractive for employers, who have long complained they cannot spend their levy payments on apprenticeships. Given that UK employee investment has been falling, this levy, combined with the creation of the new “Skills UK” body, could be instrumental for the long-term health of the sector, attracting and retaining much needed new talent.

“Labour has created a rod for their own back with promises to “hit the ground running”. They have inherited a very difficult challenge and must deliver, but if their ambitions are supported, our sector, the build environment, may experience the green shoots of recovery, sooner rather than later.”

Robbie Blackhurst, Founder and Director of Black Capital Group

Building, Design & Construction Magazine | The Choice of Industry Professionals

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BDC 319 : Aug 2024