General election result is - best the industry could hope for


Industry leaders have called for prime minister Boris Johnson to use his considerable majority to act fast on projects that have been held back.

Trad chief executive Des Moore said: “The result is the best one the UK construction industry could have hoped for, we now have a government that is agile and can move the Brexit issue forward as well as removing entirely the prospect of another referendum.

“There is no doubt that both UK and international investors will now have confidence in our direction, and release funds for many stalled projects particularly in London and the South, however I still see significant delays in stalled infrastructure projects such as HS2 and the third runway at Heathrow.”

CECA chief executive Alasdair Reisner told Construction News that the government’s priority should be to get on with projects that have been held back.

“Clearly during the election there has been a substantial commitment to increasing investment in infrastructure – we will work with the new government to ensure that can happen.”

Mr Reisner told CN that a Tory government may not lead to the cancellation of HS2 or the Heathrow expansion.

“A strong case has been made both for Heathrow and HS2; we’re not anticipating a sudden change of heart given that both schemes were brought forward under a Conservative administration.”

The Conservatives did not commit to either HS2 or Heathrow in its manifesto. The party said it would consider the findings of the Oakervee Review before making a decision on HS2’s future.

It said Heathrow would not receive any further government funding and would need to meet air quality and noise obligations.

Arcadis UK cities director Peter Hogg said: “The success of the Conservatives in galvanising support from Brexit-leaning regions in the North and Midlands will drive a focus towards policy and investment priorities that support ‘left-behind’ towns.

“Whilst it is important that these investments are prioritised, it is also vital that such programmes are aligned to the low-carbon agenda and to the aspirations of communities that the Conservatives have not been used to connecting with.”

As part of the government’s “infrastructure revolution”, it has promised £100bn of infrastructure investment including a commitment to Northern Powerhouse Rail and the Midlands Rail Hub.

Balfour Beatty chief executive Leo Quinn called for “a commitment to national and regional infrastructure investment; support for the innovation and digitisation that will modernise our sector and many others; and a rigorous commitment to reversing our national skills shortage”.

GKR Scaffolding group director Lee Rowswell said the result has reduced industry uncertainty but said: “We are realistic that there are a couple of difficult years ahead as we will see post-Brexit instability.

“We are still entering unknown territory for the whole country.”

Source: Construction News