What does Jeremy Corbyn Mean for the Construction Industry?

What does Jeremy Corbyn Mean for the Construction Industry?

24th September 2015

Nobody can have failed to be aware of Jeremy Corbyn’s election as Leader of the Labour Party and today we’re going to take a look at what this is likely to mean for the construction industry.  Corbyn stormed his way to victory on a left wing platform that advocates large scale housing programmes and re-nationalising the energy utilities and the railways.  The recent appointments to the shadow cabinet is causing controversy, not just within the Labour Party itself, but throughout the UK and some of the  key roles are relevant to the construction sector, including:

  • John McDonnell as Shadow Chancellor
  • John Healy as Shadow Housing and Planning Minister
  • Jon Trickett as Shadow Communities Minister
  • Lilian Greenwood as Shadow Transport Minister
  • Lisa Nandy as Shadow Energy Minister
  • Angela Eagle as Shadow Business Secretary and Shadow First Secretary
  • Lucy Powell as Shadow Education Secretary

John McDonnell is probably the best known to the construction sector as a founding member of the Blacklist Support Group which was formed in 2009 to campaign for justice for victims of the database of British construction workers. 

Corbyn’s policies to date include:

Transport

  • Renationalisation of the railways – this is high on the Corbyn agenda although it’s proposed that the railways will be run co-operatively by rail workers, passengers and the government in a bid to provide more affordable rail transport and lower emissions.
  • High Speed Two (HS2) is the company responsible for promoting and developing Britain’s new high speed rail network.  Corbyn is opposed to HS2 as he believes that it would turn England’s northern cities into “dormitories for London businesses”.
  • As a keen cyclist, Corbyn is committed to encouraging cycling, especially in urban areas where a bicycle is a much greener option.  Are we about to see an extension of Boris’ Bikes Scheme?

Housing

  • The suspension of the council right to buy schemes in areas like London combined with lifting borrowing restrictions on councils in order to enable them to build more than half of the 250,000 new homes that are needed each year here in the UK.
  • The reintroduction of rent controls in expensive areas like London.  Corbyn has proposed that private rents be linked to local average earnings in order to avoid “social cleansing”.
  • An extension of the right to buy to private tenants of large scale landlords – it’s being proposed that this would be funded by the removal of some of the generous tax allowances enjoyed by buy to let landlords.
  • The expansion of the Decent Homes Standard for housing association and council properties with a view to providing “decent homes” for everybody by 2025.
  • All new developments should include allotment spaces in order to provide outdoor spaces where food can be grown.

Other Policies

  • Scrapping of the nuclear weapons programme – as a long term supporter of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), Corbyn opposes the £80 billion renewal of the Trident nuclear programme.
  • “People’s Quantitative Easing” allowing the Bank of England to print more money to invest in new projects including energy, transport and large scale housing development.
  • Corbyn opposes the Trade Union Bill which had its second reading in parliament last week.