Britain has woken up to the largest Conservative majority since 1987 after Boris Johnson was swept back into Number 10 in the General Election
Figures from across the planning, construction, and infrastructure have been reacting to the news – and setting out their priorities for the incoming government.
‘Back planners to deliver sustainable communities’
Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) chief executive Victoria Hills called on the Prime Minister to “act fast” to ensure planners are adequately resourced and empowered to help deliver sustainable, well-designed and successful places – and achieve the government’s 2050 net-zero carbon targets.
“There is now a golden opportunity to invest in the much-needed infrastructure to unlock the potential to deliver the communities that people want to live in. Strategic planning can play a key role and we urge the incoming government to embrace it and move forward with further devolution,” she said.
“Over the past decade, local authority planning teams have seen a reduction of 42% in funding, a situation which must now be urgently addressed to enable us to meet the challenges ahead.”
A recent RTPI survey found that while 80% of respondents agreed that climate action should be a top priority for planners, only 17% felt their national planning system or policy framework was well equipped enough to deal with the climate crisis.
‘Certainty needed on affordable housing and safety’
Housing associations urgently need the new Conservative government to provide certainty about future funding to continue to build thousands of affordable homes, including ones for social rent, said Kate Henderson, chief executive of the National Housing Federation.
“The housing crisis has not gone away and we will be redoubling our efforts to build new homes, end homelessness and ensure everyone has the support they need to live with security and the dignity they deserve,” she added.
“We will also be renewing our calls on government to bring greater clarity on the critical issue of building safety, and to take a strategic lead in coordinating a national programme of works.
“Together with tenants, our members look forward to partnering on the Social Housing White Paper to ensure a new deal for social housing.”
‘Unleash nation’s small builders’
The new government must draw a line under years of “crippling uncertainty” for construction and “back the nation’s army of small builders”, said Brian Berry, chief executive of the Federation of Master Builders.
He called on the government to deliver a promised £3bn National Skills Fund, invest in quality with an industry-wide licensing scheme for UK construction and support local firms in retrofitting millions of homes that need to be upgraded to low carbon.
“The new Conservative government has a golden opportunity to sort out Brexit and set out its new vision for the UK. Building the homes and infrastructure that this country needs has to be a key priority to help drive the economy forward,” Berry said.
‘Property industry uniquely placed for challenges’
Britain’s property industry is “uniquely placed” to help tackle the huge challenges the country faces, said Melanie Leech, chief executive of the British Property Federation.
“Be it delivering more homes and better places, supporting our town centres, spreading prosperity through our regions or creating a clear roadmap to creating a net-zero carbon built environment,” she added.
“We hope the Prime Minister will listen and grasp the opportunity with both hands.”