Industry reacts to the General Election

netmagmedia looks at the comments throughout the industry in regards to the electoral vote.

Rob Oliver, Chief Executive (Construction Equipment Association) – comments as the Election comes to a close:

“I think the prospect of some continuity in Government policies is generally welcome. The continuation and thorough execution of the existing strategies covering construction and manufacturing will be something we will press for. We will be particularly keen to see that the current construction pipeline remains intact and that longer term infrastructure projects are not side lined.

“On a more personal note, we should give credit to Vince Cable for his stewardship of BIS. Hopefully the new Secretary of State will also be allowed some longevity in the job to allow proper engagement with the business community.”

The British Property Federation comments on the outcome of the 2015 General Election.

Melanie Leech, chief executive of the British Property Federation, said:

“We worked successfully with the Conservatives as part of the Coalition and look forward to continuing that relationship to tackle the key issues impacting on our sector.

“We would like to see the government prioritise a coherent plan to deliver increased housing supply; to follow through on the commitment to fundamentally review business rates, and take action to put in place the right infrastructure – including real estate – that will allow our country to thrive.

“The prospect of an EU Referendum will inject uncertainty into the equation, and it is important to have clarity about its parameters and timetable as soon as possible.

“Our industry has the potential to significantly increase the amount of housing in the UK, regenerate our towns and cities, and contribute significantly to the economy if it is provided with the right legislative framework, and we look forward to working with the next government to achieve this.”

Having secured the popular vote and enough to form a majority government, the Conservatives now have to walk the walk they have talked so fiercely about over the last few months.

Research conducted prior to the election, by eMoov.co.uk, found that the majority of UK homeowners (57%) were unsure as to the repercussions this election could have on them.

When asked about their worries 27% stated a rise in interest rates as a concern, although it looks like they can now rest easy, with a further 20% worried that house prices would continue to increase.

50% of those asked thought that more needed to be done for first time buyers and so the Conservatives efforts in campaigning to this end of the market, with a Help to Buy ISA and a promise to extend it in particular, seems to have paid off.

Founder and CEO of eMoov.co.uk, Russell Quirk, commented:

“Those at the top end of the UK property market will be breathing a sigh of relief having avoided a hefty, Labour lead, Mansion Tax.

“I don’t think there will be huge implications at the other end of the market. The Conservatives introduced the new Help to Buy ISA to encourage first time buyer votes and plan to extend it. I can’t see them making a U turn on their Stamp Duty Tax amendments either so the lower end of the market should benefit to some extent.

“Research by eMoov.co.uk has found that under their tenure, a Conservative government is twice as successful in seeing an increase in house prices, certainly a plus where homeowners are concerned.

“However a recent poll of MPs and the general public found that many believe that Britain is currently experiencing a housing crisis. There is a rather strong argument that the current government’s policies on the property construction, or lack of it, has contributed to this current crisis.

“One hopes that the election bribes orchestrated by the Conservatives will actually be promises that are kept. Based upon the rhetoric from previous campaigns versus the elected reality, I doubt that the pledges will be matched by the outcome regardless of who has now formed the government.

“If they are to really help the housing market they need to deliver on the regenerating of brownfield land to facilitate the construction of the 400,000 new homes. Under the last government there was a woefully inadequate shortfall of around 70-80,000 homes a year and this can’t continue”

Commenting on the expected outcome of the General Election, which forecasts a Conservative majority government, Glenigan Economics Director Allan Wilén said:

“Recent months have seen a cooling in construction activity. Indeed the latest Glenigan Index recorded a marked drop in project starts, as private sector developers postponed decisions in the run up to the general election and government-funded projects were caught up in the traditional pre-election hiatus.

“With the votes now cast and the Conservatives set to form the next government with a small majority, the short term political uncertainties have now eased.

“However, over the next Parliament, the UK faces five years of constitutional change with a promised referendum on the UK’s EU membership by 2017, the prospect of further Scottish devolution and potentially a fresh vote on Scottish independence.

“The economic uncertainty posed by the European Referendum, in particular, is a potential threat to private sector investment over the next two years.

“Public sector capital expenditure programmes are likely to be squeezed hard as the new government strives to deliver its planned reduction in the Budget deficit. While Conservative plans for large scale investment into the strategic road network bode well for construction, the sharpest increase in capital funding is not planned until after the next general election.

“Moreover, with a wafer thin majority, the Conservative leadership will not be able to push through Bills against the will of rebel backbench MPs. It will be vital that the government builds cross-party support to ensure that important long-term decisions, such as HS2 and additional airport capacity in the south east, are not stymied by local Conservative backbenchers.

“Housing emerged as an important political issue during the election campaign, with need to increase housing supply an area of clear political common ground. Planning reforms made by the Coalition government have enabled more housing permissions to be brought forward, while the Help to Buy scheme has provided much needed support for the housing market.

“However it is essential that the Conservative administration now builds on these reforms. Their stated aim to provide ‘200,000’ Starter Homes by 2020 would ease some strain on first time buyers, but this will need to be part of a wider strategy to solve the severe shortfall in homes.”