Posted by Catherine Welch, Partner
Contributing authors: Andrew Kuemmerle
Election 2019: Key outtakes for the construction industry
With the outcome of yesterday’s general election now resoundingly clear, the incoming government needs to recognise the crucial role the construction and energy sectors will have to play in driving the UK’s economic growth, and in improving standards of living in the years ahead. Issues such as housing, infrastructure and climate change will need to feature highly on the list of the government’s priorities.
Here’s what you need to read in 5 minutes to know what manifesto pledges the new Conservative government has made in relation to the construction industry:
- Deliver 200,000 homes per year over the next 5 years, rising to 300,000 homes per year by the mid-2020s.
- Amend planning rules so that improvements to infrastructure, such as roads, schools and GP surgeries, occur before people move into new homes. The new £10bn Single Housing Infrastructure Fund is intended to speed up this process.
- Invest £100bn over five years on road, rail and other infrastructure.
- Provide an additional £500m into EV charging infrastructure and new electric vehicles, ensuring that there will be a charging point within 30 miles of each home in England and Wales.
- Build the Northern Powerhouse, invest in the Midlands Rail Hub, improve train lines to the South-West and East-Anglia and restore many of the Beeching lines.
- Commit more than £4bn to fund public transport in the Midlands and the North.
- Invest 28.8bn in strategic and local roads, including a pothole-filling programme.
- Invest £2.7bn for six new hospitals, with plans for 34 more over the next ten years.
- Consider the findings of the Oakervee Review on High Speed Rail 2. The Conservatives are yet to fully commit to the project.
- Heathrow expansion to receive no new public money, and the airport operators must demonstrate it is a realistic project that can meet air quality and noise obligations.
Energy & Sustainability
- Remain committed to the target of net zero carbon emissions by 2050.
- Support the UK’s world leading offshore wind industry to reach 40GW by 2030.
- Invest £800 million to build the first fully deployed carbon capture cluster by the mid-2020s.
- Place a moratorium on fracking and rule out support, unless the science shows that it can be done safely.
Regulation & Standards
- Implement all the recommendations of the Hackitt Review following the Grenfell tragedy.
- Clampdown on late payment through strengthening the power of the Small Business Commissioner, an independent public body set up in 2016 to tackle the issue.
Skills & Workforce
- Train hundreds of thousands of apprentices through the £3bn National Skills Fund.
- Adopt an Australian-style points-based immigration system, prioritising those who have a “good grasp of English” and have “a good education and qualifications”.
- Ensure EU nationals resident in the UK will have the right to remain in the UK following Brexit, with the implementation of the EU Settlement Scheme.
- Remain committed to the roll-out of mandatory Building Information Modelling-Level 3 for public sector construction projects from the mid-2020s.
- Promote the use of Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) in an effort to hit housebuilding targets.
- Remain committed to implementing the postponed VAT reverse charge in October 2020. The VAT reverse charge will transfer responsibility for accounting VAT to HMRC up the construction project supply chain, from the supplier to the recipient of the supply. The recipient will pay the VAT due on the supply of construction services and goods direct to HMRC. The supplier will not receive the VAT payment for their supply.
- The Conservatives say “we will continue to build on this to tackle tax evasion and reduce opportunities for aggressive tax avoidance”, and in particular they say “we will set out a new anti-tax avoidance and evasion law. This will introduce a new package of anti-evasion measures, including measures to end tax abuse in the construction sector.”
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