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Jun 11 2015

What can the AEC industry expect from the new Government?

Building BritainShortly before the General Election we previewed what each party had promised for construction and infrastructure in their manifestos.  Now it’s time to look in a little more detail at what the Conservatives have planned for the built environment.

 

Infrastructure investment in roads, rail and broadband network

The headline item is full support for HS2 with bidding already under way for the first stages of work.  There is considerable debate about the total cost of the project but capital expenditure of at least £30bn seems likely.  Crossrail 2 has achieved agreement in principle, although this is subject to decisions about cost and funding sources.  In addition to these major new projects a number of rail improvement works have been announced including the electrification of the St Pancras to Sheffield line.

£7.7bn of investment has been pledged for improvements to the road network by 2020 including upgrading the M1, M6 and A11 as well as focused investment on improving transport links to the South West.

In addition, more than £700m has been pledged to fund the improvement of broadband services in rural areas.

 

Housing

Government spending on social housing is to be decreased with the 200,000 new starter homes that have been promised being delivered largely through the private sector.  To facilitate this public land will be released and the development of brownfield sites will be encouraged, with the aim that 90% will have planning permission by 2020.  For housing, the Government’s strategy seems to be one of relaxing regulations rather than increasing financial investment.

 

Health and Education

Funding for education has been protected and is set to increase with pupil numbers, with the goal of opening another 500 free schools.  However, free schools often occupy existing buildings so while fit out work may be generated the impact on construction is likely to be small.  An increase of £8bn to the NHS budget has been announced but details are yet to be released on how much of this will be used for capital expenditure.

 

Energy

The Government in Westminster, along with the Welsh Government are backing the £1bn Cardiff tidal lagoon project, a major investment in the region.  Increased funding for solar and offshore wind farms has been announced, but planning restrictions will be increased.  Subsidies will be cut for onshore wind farms and the phasing out of the Energy Company Obligation scheme will reduce funding for home energy-saving improvements.

The Government stance on the role of nuclear as an alternative energy source is unclear with some projects going ahead, although this remains a highly controversial issue.

 

Tackling the skills shortage in Construction

The Government have pledged 16,000 new apprenticeships and an extra three million ’training places’ over the next parliament to encourage more young people into the industry and tackle skills shortages in industries including construction.  Additionally initiatives aimed at improving collaboration and efficiency across the industry like BIM and Government Soft Landings (GSL) continue to be championed.

About the author

Michelle Mason

Michelle Mason leads the UK and MEAP Marketing team, with far too many years in B2B marketing to mention. A CONJECT newbie, Michelle is eagerly climbing a steep learning curve.

View my LinkedIn profile:
http://uk.linkedin.com/in/michellemason04

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