Award-winning communications experts in the built environment


Built Environment General Election Insight #6


We’re one week away. One week from the excitement and drama of election night.

As we approach the finishing line, each party is looking to make its final pitch to voters.

Both the Conservatives and Labour have been active with new infrastructure and transport announcements to woo possible voters in key northern battlegrounds.

Let’s take a look.

Quick Links

Conservatives announce £4.2 billion for local transport
Labour launches a manifesto for every region in England
Labour pledges to cut rail fares, but is this bad news for motorists?
Latest Opinion Polling

Conservatives announce £4.2 billion for local transport

#Transport #Investment

The Story: Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, has announced a new, devolved and long-term Local Public Transport Fund, which will provide eight mayoral or combined authority areas with more control over transport funding. It is hoped this will boost local trains, buses and trams in England’s biggest cities – and the towns around them.

Projects it is expected to fund include:

  • A new metro or light rail in West Yorkshire
  • Extensions to Manchester’s Metrolink tram system, which would expand to Greater Manchester’s outer boroughs
  • The new MetroWest system around Bristol
  • Extensions to the West Midlands Metro tram, including to Solihull and Birmingham airport.

Agenda: Earlier this week, Labour launched its manifesto for every region in England, which you can read about below. This illustrated how investment would benefit specific regions, especially key election battlegrounds. The Conservatives have now responded with this further detail on regionally based transport investment.

Impact: The announcement will be welcomed by those cities and towns highlighted in Shapps’ announcement. However, with the money not being made available until 2022, only £1.68 billion is being pledged in the next parliament. With that amounting to £840 million a year to be shared amongst eight regions, it is unclear how much this could build. It may be left for the regions to fund most of the costs themselves or find private investment for the wish list to be delivered.

Labour launches a manifesto for every region in England

#GreenEnergy #Investment #Transport

The Story: Last week, Labour launched a manifesto in every English region, which would deliver a tide of investment. The regions would benefit from the party’s £250 billion Green Transformation Fund and other previously announced built environment pledges.

The infrastructure pledges include:

  • A tidal power project in the Mersey.
  • Three new steel recycling plants in Redcar, Workington and Corby.
  • Nine plastics remanufacture and recycling sites – one for every region.
  • Plants to manufacture batteries for electric vehicles in Stoke, Swindon and South Wales.
  • Local rail expansion and improvement.
  • 150,000 council and ‘genuinely’ affordable homes a year.

Agenda: Following on from the launch of its main manifesto, Labour has returned with regional level specifics, showing how its pledges can help various regions around England, especially in traditional Labour-voting northern bastions which the party risks losing.

Impact: Labour’s manifesto requires heavy investment and looks to bring investment to other regions, which have not benefited from the UK’s economic prosperity in recent years.

Labour pledges to cut rail fares, but is this bad news for motorists?

#Rail #Roads #Taxes

The Story: Coinciding with disruptive rail strikes, Labour announced plans to cut rail fares by 33%. This is part of its proposal to nationalise the UK’s rail network. Labour’s shadow transport secretary, Andy McDonald, linked this with tackling climate change and encouraging people to use public transport. Labour said the proposal would cost £1.5 billion, with money covered by Vehicle Excise Duty – which is money the Conservatives have earmarked to spend on road upgrades.

The Agenda: This announcement is meant to woo long suffering rail commuters, especially those struggling with current strike action. Linking this with tackling climate change has been included as an added green benefit.

Impact: This has caused a political row, with Conservatives complaining these plans would mean bad news for road users. If Labour gains a majority next week, it could take some time for these plans to come into effect, as they are dependent on nationalising rail services.

Latest Opinion Polling


General Election Poll

Conservatives          43% (unchanged)
Labour                      32% (up 2% on last week)
Lib Dems                  14% (down 1% on last week)
Brexit Party              3%  (down 2% on last week)
Green Party              2%  (down 2% on last week)

Source: Rolling poll tracker in The Guardian

Written by: Nick Sutcliffe


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