The New Conservative Manifesto and the Construction Industry

The New Conservative Manifesto and the Construction Industry

04th June 2015

Following last month’s general election results, we now have a new government here in the UK and this often means changes in plans and commitments within British industry.  With the recent announcement that the Tories are pledging to invest £100 billion in the infrastructure of the country during this parliament, we’re taking a look at what this is likely to mean for the construction industry over the coming years.

The new government has pledged to spend £13 billion on transport in order to create a “Northern Powerhouse” with road developments on several routes, including the A1, the M62 and the A555 link road.  Furthermore, there are plans for the electrification of main rail routes, new trains and the construction of the northern hub network.  This is all good news for the north of Britain which has often been neglected causing a north/south divide here in the UK.

Moving further south and south west, there are plans to upgrade the M5, A358, A30 and A303 and for the electrification of the Great Western Main Line to enable faster trains to run on that route.  When it comes to the Midlands, upgrades to the M1 and the M6 are on the cards with the electrification of the main line from St. Pancras to Sheffield.  In the east of England, the A11 and the A47 will be upgraded and faster rail connections to Norwich and Ipswich are planned. 

In the south east there are proposed airport expansions in order to increase capacity in a response to lobbying by the Airports Commission.

Great news for the construction industry is the plan to build more homes, with 200,000 affordable starter homes to be built exclusively for first time buyers under the age of 40.  The new government also plans to extend the Right to Buy and offer generous discounts in London and the rest of England in a bid to stimulate house building here in the UK.  Local authorities are expected to play a greater role in helping with the development of brownfield sites by placing planning permission on suitable land.  President of RIBA (the Royal Institute of British Architects) has expressed some concern over the quality of new homes built on brownfield sites and we at Safety Fabrications will be watching this development closely, especially in the wake of our recent article on

David Cameron has also pledged to open another 500 schools over the course of the coming parliament in order to provide an additional 270,000 school places by 2020.  While the Conservatives have pledged investment of at least £7 billion for this provision, there is no information as yet on categoric schools capital commitments.  In terms of general funding, the manifesto reads “On current pupil-number forecasts, there will be a real term increase in the schools budget in the next parliament”. 

With 80% of the UK’s schools currently in poor condition, investment into school premises is vital for the future of the educational system.  Well-designed buildings improve wellbeing and lead to a decrease in maintenance costs.

All of this news is food for thought for the construction industry as a whole and it looks as if there are exciting times ahead for the sector.