Could a Labour supermajority be bad for construction?

Richard Selby is director and co-founder of Pro Steel Engineering

We’ve read the manifestos and heard all the promises for the good of the country, but in the event Keir Starmer’s party wins with a supermajority, the key will be whether he can keep his party together and singing from the same hymn sheet after.

“Will the party hold its own to account in the way the country needs?”

History has proven that things can change quite quickly once in power. In-fighting between the party is a real concern, and will members start to oppose themselves when they have no opposition to do it for them?

Let’s take the industrial wealth strategy as the first example. It’s not something you’d necessarily have identified as a Labour priority, and once in government you would hope it would sail through as a great initiative. However, it could become collateral damage of party in-fighting, and then you’re left with opposition to opportunities and delays, and ultimately no progressing.

The same goes for the proposed investment into clean, home-grown energy production with the creation of GB Energy, which is to be owned by, and powered for, the British people. On paper it’s a fantastic opportunity for thousands of jobs, and another step forward for clean, sustainable power. Let’s please make sure these positive activities don’t get opposed internally for the sake of it.

Remaining focused

When reading through the manifesto, I was impressed with the 125-page document, titled Change, outlining planning reforms that look to enforce local authorities into building more housing and reducing barriers to green energy schemes.

But I fear that Labour’s focus could be put too much onto other areas such as workers’ rights which could dilute the wider wealth creation plan long-term. Or can they successfully combine both areas to the levels hoped for? The people tasked with driving these areas will be as important as the projects themselves.

A supermajority win would ultimately mean less accountability, and will the party hold its own to account in the way the country needs? We need the buy-in into the green agenda that we’ve been promised as it’s a no-brainer. How will they work together and ensure that projects like the Celtic Sea and Tidal Range developments not only move, but move with pace?

We can’t afford to waste any time with in-party political bickering at the expense of forward-thinking developments like these, especially those that have been on the table for quite some time already.

We also need them to be working together immediately and proactively looking at ways of improving the sector, with one example being procurement across the UK. Will the Treasury be tasked to review the way strike prices are set to enable great UK content within the supply chain, so that greater value for the country can be achieved? We need to be taking the sector to the next level, not being stagnant, or even feeling like we’re taking a step backwards while the party finds its feet, and its voices.

Whoever wins the election, I want to trust that they will deliver on their promises for the construction sector. We need education and skills to remain a priority as we continuously battle with the skills shortage, and we need projects getting green lights quickly and efficiently. There is no time to waste with political gains being attempted between members at the determent of the country.

Voting on 4 July will be the easy bit, and only time will tell how the construction sector will be affected long term.

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