How the Upcoming Election Impacts UK Construction | Tidi Cable UK

The Snap Election kicks off on June 8th, 2017, so we thought it was a good idea to break down how the 2017 election will affect the construction industry.

This year’s election is already having a huge impact on the construction industry, with key election issues including the housing crisis and the country’s stance on immigration being stand out discussion topics.  

For the first time, every party is being challenged to offer real ‘solutions’ to the current housing crisis. A vital part of these solutions, however, include EU relations – effectively without strong relations the UK will be unable to attract the overseas workers with the applicable skills needed in order to kick-start the industry.

How the Upcoming Election Impacts UK Construction

Who will come out on top on June 8th?

On average the construction industry employs nearly 3 Million people and earns 6.7% of our economy’s GDP (Almost £90 Billion).

During its quarterly marketview, Acardis predicted that the general election could prove to be a ‘better Brexit’ in the construction world, Building talk report on it here. The argument made involves the two-year window in demand created by the uncertainty surrounding Brexit and as such is offset by the government-elect being in what appears to be a strong position to negotiate a safe and better Brexit outcome.

However, the argument on the other hand made by the likes of Richard Rogers has been made vigorously with Mr Rogers himself saying he is ‘appalled’ by how their staff since Brexit are being treated.

In an open letter published by the Guardian, he goes on further to state that Brexit will have “deeply negative consequences” for architectural practices in the UK if they cannot employ EU citizens. The letter also calls on Theresa May to clarify the future of EU nationals or the industry will suffer.

More housing on the way?

Whilst the NHS seems to be the focus for UK politics in the mainstream,  the housing crisis isn’t far behind and has created a new form of consensus for new initiatives in the rebuild of our public housing sector through local councils, housing firms, etc. Many of us are hoping this election will be the start of real change in the nation’s question for achievable and realistic housing prices.

What Matters to you?

To give you some food for thought here are the opinions of many trade associations and industry leaders:

SEH French, winners at the RIBA Suffolk Craftsmanship Awards 2017 in the  ‘Large new building’ category in 2017 told BBC Essex the industry needs skilled foreign workers but that does not mean we should neglect and forget to nurture our own talent.

RICS are also of the opinion that Brexit implications risk the loss of 200,000 industry jobs if we cannot keep access to the single market. “A simple first step would be to ensure that construction professions such as Quantity Surveyors feature on the Shortage Occupations List,” said Jeremy Blackburn, RICS Head of UK Policy.

Following on in a similar thought process, the FMB or Federation of Master Builders have called for a flexible immigration policy which would enable skilled workers from the EU to support the UK construction industry.

FMB also think that sufficient improvements need to be made to education and career pathways as a bid to attract more young people into the industry.

Finally, the FMB want VAT on renovation and repair in housing to be reduced by 15% to 5% in order to encourage refurbishment work and energy efficiency measures.

The Construction Industry Training Board continues the trend of opinion made by the likes of FMB and RICS as they forecast a rise in building activity between 2015 and 2019 which subsequently means employment will increase by almost 224,000 workers – A figure which the UK alone cannot provide at present.

The SEC (Specialist Engineers Contractors’ Group) are focusing on other areas of the election as they call for legislation which will protect retention monies, improved procurement for public infrastructure and building works. They also believe the introduction of a statutory licensing scheme for contracting companies will benefit the UK industry massively moving forward.

BESA and the ECA have made a stand calling for a fully funded, government backed SME apprenticeship scheme to be implemented across the UK; A digital payment platform allowing for improved supply chain speed and a reduced supplier risk. Above all they both consider energy, heat and carbon efficiency to be a driving priority in the future of the UK construction industry.

Where can I find out more?

We urge all of our customers and stakeholders to vote in the upcoming snap election of 2017 on June 8th, for more information on your nearest polling station please click here or if you’d like to learn more about how the general election works you can find out more by clicking here.