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Liberal Democrat Manifesto takes a pick and mix approach

National Federation of Builders | National Federation of Builders

3 min read Partner content

Made up of nineteen chapters, the Liberal Democrat manifesto seeks to promote a ‘fair deal’ for the economy, environment, public services, democracy and the international order.

Richard Beresford, Chief Executive of the National Federation of Builders, said: “When it comes to skills, placemaking and supporting net zero, the Liberal Democracy ambition sits well with NFB asks; however, without a timeline for their ambitions and some contradictory positions, for example, to build 380,000 new homes a year but loading on greater planning insecurity and higher build costs, there are some serious questions to ask about its deliverability.”

A focus on climate change is pronounced with a commitment to establish the UK as a net zero powerhouse by:

  • Speeding up grid connectivity
  • Investing in interconnectors
  • Mandating solar panels on new buildings
  • Investing in green technology and technology to make industry greener.

On housing:

 

  • A commitment to build 380,000 homes and 150,000 social homes a year
  • Ensure infrastructure is built to support new development
  • Building ten new Garden Cities and focusing on Brownfield
  • Allowing councils to buy land for housing at current use value
  • End rough sleeping within the next Parliament
  • Trailing Community Land Auctions and encouraging the use of Rural Exception Sites

Business: 

  • Review IR35 changes
  • Ensure all companies with 250+ employers sign up to the Prompt Payment Code
  • Re-establish Industrial Strategy Council
  • Increase training for the construction industry and implement Modern Methods of Construction
  • Have a minister for small business
  • Fix the Work VISA system

Rico Wojtulewicz, Head of Policy and Market Insight for the NFB, said: “I am going to focus on housing because it is a bellwether for policy in practice. The Liberal Democrats ambitious 380,000 home target is welcomed but it is really what is already being delivered, with the addition of 150,000 social homes on top. More social homes are fantastic, but SMEs predominantly build them, and they are in decline because of the broken, risk-based planning system which the Lib Dem’s Manifesto seeks to continue and make riskier.

More localism, more Neighbourhood Plans, arbitrary planning fees set by councils, increasing build costs without ensuring they can be delivered, e.g.mandating solar without a grid connection and reinforcement plan or timeframe, and up to 100% Biodiversity Net Gain on large sites, despite 10% already being impossible for most SME builders. These are just some of the examples which will put the final nail in the coffin for most housebuilders and further strengthen the arm of major builders.

Should the Liberal Democrats want to understand the construction industry, the NFB is always available; an offer other parties have already taken up. They can also check our own Manifesto, Supporting Construction to Power Growth, which identifies how the increased tax take required for their public sector investment can be enabled without borrowing billions of pounds.”

Read the most recent article written by National Federation of Builders - King’s Speech confirms growth as the Government’s primary focus

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