How construction jobs fit into Labour manifesto on public spending


As the 2010 UK general election approaches, manifestos from each of the country’s political parties will outline their policies for their prospective governments. The first party to do so is Labour, whose election pledges contain many details relevant to construction jobs such as public spending on regeneration, infrastructure improvements and design standards.

Building, the industry website dealing with all news related to jobs in construction, has outlined the details of Labour’s manifesto and the pledges relevant to the construction industry outside of business law and taxation.

Construction recruitment would mainly be boosted by Labours manifesto in areas such as roadworks, housing and energy infrastructure. One of the most prominent pledges is the commitment to generating 40% of the UK’s energy by 2020 through the construction of nuclear, wind and clean coal power generation capacity; this pledge is covered more extensively elsewhere.

Housing jobs could be boosted by Labour’s pledges on creating a “new form of affordable housing”. The party says that it will work with housing associations to create affordable homes throughout the UK. As repricing of current houses on the market to lower levels would have a knock on effect on the wider market and as new houses are still needed, this is likely to mainly involve new developments of social housing.

Labour jobs and civil engineering jobs will be effected by Labour’s commitments on runway construction and the motorway system. Less extensive work opportunities will be available on UK airports, as no further runway construction will be allowed outside of Heathrow. However, the launch of a targeted motorway widening programme across the UK should help compensate for this.

One of the more significant areas of the manifesto will have a concrete impact on design jobs. UK public buildings, funded by government or local authority funds, will be held to minimum design standards according to Labour’s pledges. This will follow a similar system as last year’s pilot “Building Schools for the Future” programme, where all buildings had to be reviewed under a specially convened design review panel.

These changes to design will likely be felt more in the ongoing schools programme or in any developments under the proposed “national care system” than in NHS developments, in contrast to the last decade or so. As Building’s Joey Gardiner notes, in other areas of the manifesto, Labour has also pledged to reinvest health spending from new buildings and into frontline services.

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