Party pledges and proposed policies are all that businesses and the general public have to base their decisions on, but whether or not the new government will deliver on their promises remains to be seen.
06 January 2020 | Martin Read and Bradford Keen
Nevertheless, the government has been clear about its direction on energy. The Conservatives have committed to pursuing a carbon-zero future by 2050, which aligns well with the prevailing narrative of workplace and facilities management professionals.
Cash-strapped healthcare estates departments are also set to benefit from the government's spending promises. Boris Johnson's party has said the government will spend £850 million to upgrade 20 hospital and a further £2.7 billion for six new hospitals. The government has also said it would seek seed funding for work on 34 more hospitals.
An extra £1 billion will be spent each year to improve social care infrastructure and facilities, and train new staff.
Commentary from the broader industry
The Building Engineering Services Association (BESA) and Electrical Contractors' Association (ECA) suggested in a joint statement that government should focus its energies and investments in projects such as improving legislation around holding cash retentions in trust and solving - once and for all - the late payment issues that have beset their sectors.
The joint statement also called for a commitment to long-term investment in construction projects and general infrastructure such as railways and new homes.
BESA's David Frise and ECA CEO Steve Bratt said: "If done correctly, and in close consultation with the industry, the proposed new building regulation regime could cement a better culture of competence and compliance within the industry, and crucially, save lives".
Mark Beard, chairman of Beard Construction, said: "The results
give everyone a much clearer idea of where the country is headed.Regardless of political affiliation, this is good news for the construction sector as projects that may have been put on hold before are now more likely to be brought forward.
"'Getting Brexit done' should mean the Government can start to focus on other pressing issues, including the need to improve
the UK's infrastructure and new Building Safety legislation. The construction industry clearly has an important role to play in both areas."
The new government has pledged to legislate all the recommendations made in the Hackitt Review in May last year, and the IWFM says that building safety needs to be a clear focus point. IWFM expects 2020 to be the year in which Dame Judith Hackitt's vision for safe homes for all becomes a reality.
The institute has said that it will continue its work with the new government to improve building safety regimes and promote the newly made regulatory role of building safety manager.
IWFM also believes that there is further cause for positivity after the government's pledges to fix the maintenance backlog in public buildings, while on its policy pipeline page, IWFM talks of "supporting the creation of connected and successful workplaces by driving experience-enhancing technology strategies."
In its manifesto, the Conservative party pledged to "focus our efforts on areas where the UK can generater a commanding lead in the industries of the future - life sciences, clean energy, space, design, computing, robotics and artificial intelligence. These promises to adapt the UK's business environment to align with emerging technologies resonates particularly with both the residential and corporate real estate sectors.
"It is crucial that the new Conservative government recognises the power of technology to transform renting and real estate more widely," said Franz Doerr, CEO and founder of flatfair. "The new government needs to support and work with innovative companies harnessing technology to make the wider real estate market more transparent and modern for all parties involved.
David Smithen, partner at UK law firm TLT, expressed relief "that the UK now finally seems to have a clear governmental direction on Brexit and that the prospect of major nationalisations has not materialised.
"The Conservative promise of a £100 billion fund for additional infrastructure sounds impressive, but, of course, the trick will be to spend that money wisely and in support of economic growth whilst respecting the increasingly important environmental agenda - noting that one of the headline manifesto pledges of the new government is to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050."
Smithen concluded: "The Conservatives need look no further than the best manifesto issued during the election campaign: that of the British Property Federation. Its proposals included policies such as reducing VAT on residential repairs, maintenance and management; investing £12.8 billion a year in social housing; reforming the UK Apprenticeship Levy to increase apprenticeship numbers and boost investment in training; reducing the total business rates burden and ending its automatic annual inflation increase, and investing in local authority planning departments to improve the planning process."
Finally, of all its policies, the government's pledge to reach net-zero carbon emissions is likely to have the most significant effect on the sector in the years ahead.
- £9.2 billion in the energy efficiency of homes, schools and hospitals;
- £4 billion to be spent on R&D, decarbonisation schemes, electric vehicle infrastructure including a national plug-in network and Gigafactory, clean energy, and flood defences;
- £1 billion to be spent on EV rapid charging stations;
- £500 million will aid energy-intensive industries to adopt low-carbon practices;
- £800 million for a carbon capture storage cluster to be completed in mid-2020s; and
- New laws to improve air quality.