The Construction industry reacts to Hung Parliament in 2017 Election
Following the result of a hung parliament on the 9th June, the industry have been speaking their minds on the issues unfolding. We’ve compiled the most influential Construction Sector opinions to offer an insight into how this could impact the market.
“As a result of the rushed general election leading to a hung parliament on Friday, the United Kingdom has been plunged into uncertainty. As a recruitment agency based in Construction, a parliament needs to be brought together sooner rather than later to continue the momentum the industry has regained. We don’t want to see the repercussions brought about by Brexit last year, which almost halted the sector until October, where companies were afraid to take on new projects. This caused delays in reaching the already extensive housing targets set by Conservative government, which have again been increased by the 2017 election. A new housing minister needs to be appointed as a matter of urgency to ensure confidence isn’t lost in the Housing sector”
Martyn Makinson, Managing Director of ionic Recruitment
“We would hope that politicians recognise that their priority is to organise an effective government to provide confidence and certainty both at home and abroad. Forging ahead with an industrial strategy which includes the delivery of the country’s housing, economic, social and business infrastructure to meet the needs of the nation will enable our industry to deliver growth and prosperity.
“Greater and more effective collaboration within the construction supply chain is already ensuring that the industry is tackling its own challenges on skills, procurement and innovation, and we must continue to do that. Regardless of the politics of the day, we all rely on the business community to create and maintain a strong economy.”
Suzannah Nichol, Chief Executive of Build UK
“With a new government, there has never been a more important time to refocus on the economy and plan with confidence and ambition. The next government needs to deliver an open, competitive and fair post-Brexit economy that works for everyone across all our nations and regions. This can only be achieved if the next government doesn’t put the brakes on business, remains open to the world and sets out a pro-enterprise vision.
“We need to move much faster to fix the foundations of the UK economy and our productivity problem. We need meaningful progress on a modern industrial strategy by the end of the year, with real change on the ground on skills, infrastructure and innovation.
“With only 10 days before Brexit talks begin, the UK needs to be fast out of the blocks. Agreeing transition arrangements and guaranteeing EU citizens’ rights should be early priorities to get the talks off to a good start and show to the world that trade and people come first.
“Firms will support the UK develop our inclusive, innovative and open economy. More than ever, the new government must work together with business to make the most of the opportunities ahead. Firms can provide the evidence, ideas and solutions from the shop, office and factory floor to secure our future prosperity.”
Carolyn Fairbairn, Director-General of the Confederation of British Industry
“The upshot of the general election result is that, regrettably, a vote that was intended to give clarity to our political position has instead produced an increased number of unknowns and additional political issues to resolve.
“These uncertainties include: whether the Conservative Party will be able to form a strong enough government to deliver a budget; whether the UK can meaningfully negotiate with the EU without a strong domestic platform; whether the Conservative Party will need to debate its leadership; whether, as a result, there will be ministerial changes and whether proposed policy will stand; and whether, if the Conservatives fail to create a government, The Labour Party attempts to do so in its place.”
David Savage, Partner and Head of the Construction and Infrastructure at law firm Charles Russell Speechlys
“The surprise general election result has left key business sectors nervous with no one political party securing enough seats to form a majority government. The construction sector is particularly vulnerable to dips in consumer confidence brought about by political uncertainty and therefore it’s crucial that this uncertainty is minimised.
“In the longer term, there could be a potential silver lining for the business community as the prospect of a hard Brexit now seems less likely. Theresa May stood on a hard Brexit platform and she has clearly not been given a mandate to approach the negotiations in this way. Brexit is inevitable but the election result will surely have a significant impact on the shape of the Brexit deal we end up with. This could be a positive for business leaders who are concerned about a broad range of issues – for the construction sector, our greatest concern is that the flow of migrant workers might be reduced too quickly and before we are able to put in place a framework for training sufficient UK workers to replace them.”
Brian Berry, chief executive of the Federation of Master Builders
“Housing should continue to remain important in the new government. In the manifesto there were pledges to building more homes and the importance of ensuring they were of good design and quality.
“We don’t yet know who the new housing minister will be, having seen Gavin Barwell lose his seat. But the fact that Sajid Javid retain his cabinet post as minister for communities and local government and Barwell, who was widely respected by those of us in housing, has reappeared as May’s chief of staff, bodes well for housing. At the weekend too, May said she would be concentrating on Brexit and social issues, such as housing.
“It’s great that there is a growing realisation that councils must build more – and hopefully organisations like ours can help in that regard, bringing private and public sectors together. We would hope the work of the National Regeneration Programme will continue, despite Heseltine being out of the picture. However, we are hearing from manufacturers that they have been feeling the pinch because of the uncertainty.”
Shelagh Grant, Chief Executive of the Housing Forum
“The outcome of the UK General Election may introduce some uncertainty in the short term but we expect the new build housing market to remain robust. Strong levels of employment, low interest rates and good mortgage access – including through the help to buy scheme – should all contribute to a sustainable new build housing market.”