London’s New Mayor has Good News for the Construction Industry
Last week’s election results saw a bit of a shake up in the electoral landscape across the UK. While Sadiq Khan reclaimed the post of Mayor of London for Labour, Labour and the SNP made some important gains in Scotland and Wales. Here at Safety Fabrications, we keep a close eye on any news that is likely to affect the construction industry as a whole so that we can provide our readers with up to date and relevant information and act as a go-to resource when it comes to what’s going on in our sector. Today we’re going to take a look at what these changes are likely to mean for the construction industry.
Sadiq Khan and the assemblies of Scotland and Wales have all promised to put affordable housing at the top of their lists of priorities, together with policies that will boost infrastructure spending while addressing the shortage of skills in the construction industry. This is all good news for the sector as a whole and has been welcomed by Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the Master Federation of Builders, though he did hint that the target of 50% affordable housing may be “entirely unworkable”. Berry called for an introduction of a small site exemption, similar to that which the Government is introducing in its Housing and Planning Bill.
Let’s take a look at Sadiq Khan’s policies for London:
· 50% of all new housing should be “genuinely affordable” to low-income workers.
· Shared ownership and for-sale homes built on land released by the public sector will be initially offered to Londoners who have been renting privately for at least 5 years.
· The introduction of a new category of tenure, living rent, to be set at one third of average local wages.
· To establish a Homes for Londoners group at City Hall to pull together all of the mayor’s housing, planning, funding and land powers.
· The establishment of a construction academy in a bid to address the capital’s skills shortage.
· A pledge to secure the Crossrail 2 line and the Bakerloo line extension with discussions to take place on Crossrail 3 and the improvement of orbital rail links around London’s suburbs.
· To beef up the London Plan, ensuring that new tall building proposals respect the character of their surrounding neighbourhoods.
· To maintain the London Plan’s commitment to zero carbon housing.
· Khan opposes the addition of a new runway at Heathrow Airport and favours a runway being added to Gatwick Airport instead.
Most of these policies seem to be good news for the construction industry, especially in London and the Home Counties. The establishment of a successful construction academy in London could lead to similar projects elsewhere in the UK, a move that should be welcomed by the industry as a whole. Addressing the skills shortage in the construction industry is the only way of making sure that the sector is equipped with the workers that will be necessary in the future.