Construction industry backs Conservatives

Published:  17 April, 2015

The Conservatives recently took the lead in a pre-election opinion poll conducted by UK Construction Week, despite 71% of respondents claiming that the needs of the construction industry have been ignored by the key political parties.

The survey questioned more than 1,000 product manufacturers, contractors, architects, housebuilders, developers and suppliers from around the industry, asking for their thoughts on policies affecting the construction industry. The majority replied that they do not feel the interests of the industry have been addressed by the election campaigns, with only 29% stating that construction has received adequate political attention.

When asked which party would be best for the industry if it comes to power, the Conservatives demonstrated a clear lead with 54% of the vote. The results place Labour well behind at 30%, while the Green Party has pushed ahead of the Liberal Democrats, coming in at 6% and 4% respectively. UKIP also claimed 4% of the vote, with SNP and Plaid Cymru jointly accounting for the remaining 2%.

Despite the positive indication for the Conservatives, the survey also appeared to reveal a desire for political change, with 72% stating that a change in government would have a positive or neutral impact on the construction industry and just 28% replying that this would have negative consequences.

When asked to look more closely at the policies they feel would positively benefit the industry, two key themes emerged: housebuilding and skills. The Help To Buy programme was overwhelmingly highlighted as the most important recent initiative in boosting construction industry growth, receiving 67% of the vote.

Interestingly, the coalition government’s flagship energy efficiency programmes the Green Deal and the Energy Company Obligation achieved just 9% and 5% of the responses, while key sustainability programmes the Renewable Heat Incentive and Feed In Tariff each received just 4%.

Skills took the lead as the most pressing issue, with 31% replying that government should take more steps to address skills shortages and provide better support for apprenticeships. A further 20% replied that the planning process should be simplified, while 23% called for an end to austerity measures with greater public spending on construction projects.

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