Future of construction Campaign

CIOB highlights impact of General Election Manifestos on built environment

Dave is facing the camera with a blue shirt.

David Parry

Public Affairs Officer

Last updated: 20th June 2024

With the 4 July 2024 polling date for the UK General Election rapidly approaching, the main political parties have now published manifestos, setting out their plans and policy intentions for the next parliamentary term should they be elected.  

Below, we outline some of the key points and pledges made by each party, and how they compare to CIOB’s Manifesto for the Built Environment


Table showing impact of each party's manifesto on the built environment

For a more detailed analysis of the built environment related policies set out in each manifesto, look at our comparison document here.


Conservative Party Manifesto

The Conservative and Unionist Party manifesto, Clear Plan, Bold Action, Secure Future, focuses its policy proposals around cutting taxes and reducing the rate of immigration to the UK. It also focuses on restoring economic stability after the Covid-19 pandemic as well as the conflict in Ukraine, creating a “future where aspiration and opportunity are celebrated and young people always get the skills they need to succeed”.

The manifesto includes a number of key policies, such as:

  • Abolish National Insurance payments for four million self-employed with a view to scrapping it entirely when “financial conditions allow”. 
  • Introducing a binding, legal cap on migration.
  • Deliver 92,000 more nurses and 28,000 more doctors in the NHS compared to 2023.
  • Lower green levies on household bills and ensure no new green levies or charges while accelerating the rollout of renewables. 
  • Recruit 8,000 extra police officers. 
  • Create 100,000 apprenticeships.

On education and skills, the manifesto promises that the Conservative Party will create 100,000 more apprenticeships in England every year by the end of the next Parliament. To fund this the party has committed to closing university courses in England with the worst outcomes for students. The manifesto also commits to the delivery of a “Lifelong Learning Entitlement”, a loan scheme that adults looking to retrain or upskill can access from the start of the 2025 academic year for the purpose of covering the cost of new qualifications.

Linking between both education and safety, the manifesto claims that a future Conservative government would look to rebuild over 500 schools, including rebuilding or refurbishing every school identified to have Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete (RAAC).

Continuing the theme of safety the Conservative’s commit to continuing to support those affected by the building safety crisis by requiring the continuation of the developer-funded remediation programmes for “mid- and high-rise” buildings.

Alike many of the other manifestos published in the run-up to the election the Conservative Party commit to mandatory housebuilding targets (320,000 per annum) as well as making alterations to the current Stamp Duty system (in this case abolishing Stamp Duty for homes up to £425,00 for first time buyers).

Lastly, on sustainability, the Conservative Party has re-enforced their commitment to abolishing rules on nutrient neutrality.


Labour Party Manifesto

The Labour Party manifesto, entitled Our Plan to Change, sets its primary aims as restoring trust in politics, recovering UK finances and rebuilding the UK’s public services.

The manifesto follows through with Labour’s commitment to five key national missions: Deliver economic stability, Cut NHS waiting times, launch a new Border Security Command, set up Great British Energy and crank down on antisocial behaviour. Labour’s commitment to “mission-driven government” focuses on long-term planning and objective setting that joins together communities, industry and government to “put the country back in the service of working people”.

The manifesto includes a number of key policies, such as:

  • Closing non-dom tax and inheritance tax loopholes.
  • Introducing VAT for private schools. 
  • The formation of a publicly owned energy company to deliver clean power. 
  • Restoring plans to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars from 2030.
  • A spending commitment of £23.7bn for green initiatives during the next parliament.

Labour has, alike many of the other political parties in the UK, committed to reforming the planning system to remove barriers to building housing and infrastructure. Included in their plans is the restoration of mandatory housing targets (300,000 per annum), funding for additional planning officers and strengthening obligations for developments to generate more affordable housing. Labour’s vision for planning will also look to take a brownfield first approach while supporting the creation of new towns in the UK.

On existing housing, the Labour Party manifesto states that the party will respond to the findings of the Grenfell Inquiry and ensure that “those responsible for the building safety crisis pay to put it right”. Labour would also look to take steps to raise housing standings by extending ‘Awaab’s Law’ to the private sector, deliver a “Warm Homes Plan” to upgrade the energy efficiency of 5 million homes through grants and low interest loans and ensure homes in the private rented sector meet minimum energy efficiency standards by 2030.

On skills, the Labour Party manifesto introduces a new body, “Skills England”, which would bring together a variety of different voices at a national and local level to ensure that there is the highly trained workforce needed to deliver their industrial strategy. Part of the generation of this workforce would include reforming the apprenticeship levy, reforming the point-based immigration system and transforming Further Education colleges into Specialist Technical Excellence Colleges.


Liberal Democrat Manifesto

The Liberal Democrats manifesto, For a Fair Deal, centres around providing everyone in the UK with the opportunity to “afford a decent home somewhere safe and clean – with a comfortable retirement when the time comes”. The Liberal Democrat manifesto also aims at implementing policies that will ensure that “every child can go to a good school” and everyone can “get the high-quality healthcare they need”.

The manifesto includes a number of key policies, such as:

  • 8,000 more GPs and free personal care in England. 
  • Increasing public spending (£27bn more a year by 2029).
  • Commit to reaching net zero as a nation by 2045 at the latest.
  • Bring the legal voting age down to 16. 
  • Rejoin the EU Single Market. 
  • Protect the independence of the Bank of England and keep to the inflation target of 2 per cent.

On the built environment, the Liberal Democrats manifesto focuses heavily on generating new skilled workers to fill gaps in crucial industries such as construction.

Within the manifesto, the party commits to fixing the skills and recruitment crisis by replacing the “broken” apprenticeship levy with a broader and more flexible skills and training levy. The Liberal Democrats also commit to creating new “Lifelong Skills Grants” which would give all adults in the UK £5,000 to spend on education and training throughout their lives, with an aim to increase the funding to £10,000 when public finances allow.

Elsewhere in the manifesto are plans to implement an “emergency Home Energy Upgrade Plan” to make homes warmer and cheaper to heat. The programme would see free insulation and heat pumps installed for those on low incomes, while simultaneously ensuring that all new homes are zero-carbon. For the private rented sector, the Liberal Democrats would look to reintroduce requirements for landlords to upgrade the energy efficiency of their properties to EPC C or above by 2028.

Technology and innovation play a key role in the manifesto. The Liberal Democrats have committed to creating a “clear, workable and well-resourced cross-sectoral regulatory framework for artificial intelligence”, investment in new technologies such as modern methods of construction, as well as the re-establishment of the Industrial Strategy Council.


Green Party Manifesto

The Green Party manifesto, entitled Real Hope. Real Change, unsurprisingly focuses many of its policy proposals around the principle of sustainability. It poses that, despite commitments from countries, companies and governments of all tiers, greenhouse gas emissions are still rising and that this and the climate breakdown are impacting us on an economic and social level.

The manifesto includes a number of key policies, such as:

  • A new carbon tax on businesses equivalent to £120 per tonne emitted. 
  • Inject the NHS budget with an £8bn in the first year of a new government. 
  • A 1% tax on the assets of more than £10m.
  • Trial and implement a four-day working week. 
  • A £2bn a year fund to help SMEs decarbonise.

The Green Party manifesto contains a plethora of commitments for the built environment including transforming the planning system so that new developments come with access to public services and green spaces which are protected, reducing climate emissions during construction and providing affordable housing. The Green Party has committed to campaigning to change building regulations so that all new homes meet Passivhaus or equivalent standards.

The Green Party manifesto also includes policies targeted at existing homes including investing £29bn over the next five years to insulate homes to EPC band B standard or above as well as investing £9bn over the next five years for heating systems for homes and other buildings. These initiatives come forward as part of the Green Party’s commitment to retrofitting the UK’s existing housing stock.

Remaining on commitments to sustainability, the Green Party manifesto has suggested that they will commit to wind power providing around 70% of the UK’s electricity by 2030 while ensuring that no new oil and gas licenses are rolled out, simultaneously ending all subsidies to the oil and gas industries.

On skills, the Green Party has committed to investing in skills and training (reaching £4bn per annum). Much of this investment will be geared towards the skills needed for widespread retrofitting and preparing to transition to a zero-carbon economy.


Reform UK’s Contract

The Reform UK contract (referred to as a contract rather than a manifesto), Our Contract with You, sets out proposals primarily to tighten the existing rules on immigration while growing business in the UK. Reform UK has set out that its contract is “a serious plan to reshape the way our country is run.”

The contract includes a number of key policies, such as:

  • Freeze non-essential immigration with only essential skilled workers such as those in healthcare being the exception.
  • Cut foreign aid by 50%. 
  • Abolish Inheritance Tax for all estates under £2m. 
  • Support businesses by abolishing Business Rates for high street-based SMEs.
  • Scrap net zero and related subsidies.
  • Leave the European Commission on Human Rights. 

Alike most of the other party’s commitments, Reform UK has pledged to reform the planning system, streamlining and fast-tracking applications for development on brownfield sites. Reform UK also plan to implement changes to cut Residential Stamp Duty, reform social housing law and abolish the Renters’ (Reform) Bill.

On skills, Reform UK will look to increase the number of ‘homegrown’ qualified traders by increasing the number of new apprentices and vocational courses. The Reform UK contract specifically lists construction as one of the focus sectors for increasing technical courses and apprenticeships.

Alongside this, the construction sector gets a mention in relation to the use of new technologies in key industries. In this instance, Reform UK would like to see incentives put in place for new technologies such as modular construction and smart infrastructure.

If you would like further information, or details on some the devolved nation’s manifestos, please contact the policy and public affairs team on [email protected]