Is The UK General Election Affecting Industry?
Mrs May said the election is in the “national interest” and the only way to guarantee certainty and stability in the wake of Brexit.
Here’s how the construction industry is reacting:
WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff UK chief executive Mark Naysmith:
“With momentum building behind high-speed rail, Heathrow, highways, and other infrastructure investments, a snap election presents the opportunity for the next government to build a strong mandate for speeding up the delivery of these vital long-term projects.
“We would like to see firm manifesto commitments to these schemes, as well as a determined, clear pledge for producing more of the construction and STEM skills we need for delivery.
“While infrastructure delivery is supported by all main political parties in some form, 80 per cent of the construction industry believes that the public doesn’t understand the role it plays in enabling growth.
“We’ll, therefore, be looking for parties to explain at a national and regional level why pro-infrastructure policies are good for UK plc, for productivity and for local housing, services, and jobs.”
Confederation of British Industry director-general Carolyn Fairbairn
“With a snap general election now called, businesses will be looking to each political party set out their plans to support economic stability and prosperity over the next parliament in a way that is fair and sustainable for communities across the UK.
“Distraction from the urgent priorities of seeking the best EU deal and improving UK productivity must be kept to a minimum.
“As EU negotiations now get under way, firms are clear about the serious risks of failing to secure a deal and falling into World Trade Organisation rules.
“It is vital that negotiators secure some early wins and all parties should commit to working to ensure businesses can continue to trade easily with our EU neighbors while seeking new opportunities around the world.
“Whoever forms the next government, they should seek to build a partnership between business and government that is the best in the world, based on trust and shared interest.”
Federation of Master Builders director of external affairs Sarah McMonagle:
“Theresa May’s announcement has taken us all by surprise. Unlike the previous election in 2015, of which we had ample warning, there will not be a thorough consultation process with the business community and others regarding what we want to see from the next government.
“Inevitably, the main focus of this election campaign will be the Brexit negotiations and it’s, therefore, vital that all political parties are clear about how they would handle this and are also clear about what good looks like.
“For the construction sector, one of our main priorities is ensuring we have an immigrations system that ensures firms of sizes have access to the skilled labour they need.”
Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors parliamentary affairs manager Lewis Johnston:
“The real question is how the economy will react to yet another political rollercoaster ride.
“Since the EU referendum last summer, our market surveys across the residential, commercial and construction sectors show we have largely moved on from initial negative reactions but uncertainty continues to cloud the outlook and weigh on market sentiment.
“Today’s decision does very little to change that prognosis in the near term, and if anything we are likely to see continuing deferral of major investment and hiring plans.
“While Theresa May’s stated intention was to provide greater clarity and stability by calling a general election, in the immediate term the move inevitably puts a question mark over policy and creates further uncertainty across the built environment.
“It is now the responsibility of all parties to set out clear policy proposals across land, property, construction and infrastructure to ensure the UK can deliver the homes, infrastructure, factories, offices and major building projects it needs to thrive.”
Farmer Review author and chief executive of Cast Consultancy chief Mark Farmer:
“Whatever the outcome of this election, the construction skills gap will remain, as will the impact of Brexit.
“In the campaign to come, I hope to see some serious solutions on offer as part of the main parties’ manifestos that adequately reflect the importance of the construction industry’s welfare and future modernisation as part of its contribution to UK plc.
“We need to also preferably see a reasonable level of cross-party consensus on a coherent and comprehensive skills and innovation agenda that is not interrupted by endless political turmoil”
Construction Products Association economics director Noble Francis:
“In the short term, it adds a little more uncertainty and speculation for the UK economy generally. You see that in the volatility in sterling already.
“But this is the fourth consecutive year we have had an election or referendum so the UK economy, which is still growing strongly, may largely be used to election/referendum uncertainty by now.
“In terms of construction specifically, there is likely to be a short hiatus in signing new public sector contracts during purdah (the six weeks before the general election). But, given that it is during summer, it is unlikely to have a large impact on activity on the ground, which is based on contracts signed well in advance.
“Major projects such as HS2 and Hinkley Point C are unlikely to be affected as major works start next year, while Thames Tideway work is already under way and won’t be particularly affected.
“In terms of the medium-term impact, it is far too early to say at this stage.”
So there you have – the industries brightest minds on one of the biggest game-changers to happen this year.