General Election Briefing 2024 | #2

As we approach the general election our Senior Engagement Specialist Mark Cawdrey shares this week’s update on what each party is talking about and how it affects the built environment.


This past week in UK politics has been eventful as the general election campaign continues to gain momentum. The first televised debate between Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Labour leader Keir Starmer was a significant highlight, with many viewing Starmer as the victor. Sunak’s aggressive questioning was met with Starmer’s focus on the Conservative Party’s recent record, particularly the controversies surrounding Liz Truss’s tenure as Prime Minister. Sunak’s claim that a Labour government would cost families an extra £2,000 a year in taxes was quickly debunked by senior civil servants, adding to the debate’s impact. 

Nigel Farage’s announcement to stand as the Reform candidate in Clacton, Essex, has also stirred the political landscape. His involvement ensures increased media attention for Reform UK, potentially shifting the dynamics of the election coverage and debates. 

Regarding policy developments, Labour’s upcoming manifesto is eagerly anticipated, with major initiatives such as the establishment of Great British Energy expected to take centre stage. This new agency aims to spearhead innovation and investment in energy infrastructure, focusing on carbon capture, hydrogen, wind, and solar power. 

The Liberal Democrats have expanded their environmental agenda, proposing reforms to water regulation and legally binding targets to prevent sewage dumping. They also aim to increase protections for marine areas, which has significant implications for offshore wind and resource extraction. 

These developments set the stage for a crucial period in the campaign, with each party refining their strategies and policy proposals to attract voters as election day approaches.  

1Britain Predicts, New Statesman – Prediction as of 01/06/2024 (SNP/PC vote share is of their constituent nations)

Party Overview

Labour Party:

Labour’s campaign continues to focus on steady incremental changes, particularly in planning reforms, energy security, and infrastructure development. Anticipation is high for their manifesto, which is expected next week and will likely feature the establishment of Great British Energy, a publicly owned company that spearheads renewable energy projects. Keir Starmer’s performance in the first televised debate has bolstered Labour’s position, emphasising their commitment to stability and growth.

Conservative Party:

The Conservatives are emphasising economic stability and tax policies in their campaign. They aim to consolidate their base by maintaining current VAT, income tax, and National Insurance rates and protecting pension plans through the “triple lock” policy. However, the party faces challenges with numerous MPs standing down and complexities in filling candidate positions ahead of the nomination deadline. Rishi Sunak’s aggressive debate strategy has drawn both praise and criticism, highlighting the party’s need to defend its recent track record.

Liberal Democrats:

The Liberal Democrats have expanded their environmental policies, detailing plans for Blue Flag rivers and legally binding targets to prevent sewage dumping. They also propose increasing protections for marine areas and enhancing apprenticeship programmes and skills development. Their focus on environmental issues aims to attract voters concerned with climate change and sustainable development.

The Liberal Democrats pledged this week to centrally fund social care at home, including a higher minimum wage for care workers. Those in residential care would not benefit from this.

Green Party:

The Greens have faced criticism over their birth policy, which aims to reduce medical interventions during childbirth. Despite this, they continue to advocate for robust ecological protections, pledging substantial investments to modernise hospitals and improve staff pay. Their “Rights of Nature Act,” which seeks to grant ecosystems legal rights, remains a cornerstone of their campaign, aiming to protect 30% of the UK’s land and marine areas by 2030.

Reform UK:

Nigel Farage’s announcement to stand as the Reform candidate in Clacton, Essex, has significantly boosted the party’s profile, ensuring more media attention. Reform UK has pledged to abolish inheritance tax for estates under £2 million and introduced a “Migrant Tax” to increase National Insurance rates for foreign workers. These policies aim to attract older voters and address immigration concerns. Farage’s involvement could siphon votes from the Conservatives, potentially impacting the overall election results.

Key Issues and Impact on the Industry

Planning and Development:

This week, Tony Blair’s Housing Guru, Dame Kate Barker, highlighted the severity of the current housing crisis in an interview, stating she “never expected the housing crisis to be as serious as it is nowadays.” Barker is involved in commissioning a cross-party committee to provide recommendations for resolving this issue. Having led policy reviews on housing supply in 2004 and land use planning in 2006 and serving as a non-executive director at Taylor Wimpey since 2010, Barker brings extensive expertise to the table. The commission, organised by the centrist think-tank Radix, will consider planning policy, infrastructure delivery, and housebuilding. This initiative is expected to influence future planning and development strategies to alleviate housing shortages and streamline infrastructure projects.

Skills and Apprenticeships:

This week’s discussions have highlighted the proposed flexibility of the apprenticeship levy. Labour’s proposal to convert it into an “open skills levy” would allow funding for approved non-apprenticeship training, addressing skills gaps crucial for the construction industry. This could include green skills training and other necessary transitions to achieve net-zero goals. The Conservatives also plan to increase apprenticeships by redirecting funds from underperforming university courses.

Water Industry:

The Liberal Democrats have expanded their environmental agenda this week, proposing detailed plans for water regulation reforms. This includes Blue Flag rivers and legally binding targets to prevent sewage dumping. These regulations could lead to stricter compliance requirements for construction projects near water bodies, impacting planning and execution strategies within the industry.

Energy, Climate Change and Sustainability:

Climate change remains a focal point, with Labour detailing more about their Great British Energy initiative. This government agency will promote innovation and investment in energy infrastructure, focusing on carbon capture, hydrogen, wind, and solar power. These developments align with the broader strategy for achieving energy security and addressing climate change, influencing how the construction industry will approach new projects and sustainable practices.


Understanding the evolving political landscape and its implications is crucial as we approach the general election. This briefing has highlighted key developments, including the strategic delays in manifesto releases, the impact of televised debates, and the significant policy proposals from major parties. These factors will shape the future of the UK’s fiscal policies, investment strategies, and regulatory environment. 

If you want to understand more about how the election results could affect your development plans, please get in touch. Our team is here to help you navigate the complexities and leverage opportunities in this dynamic political climate.