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Roll on the General Election

In the wake of this week's party manifesto announcements - most of us are now keen to get past this election.

Earlier this month, the Guardian reported the results of a PMI survey suggesting that builders are delaying spending decisions until after 7th May. According to this media source, growth in the construction sector slowed last month as customers delayed making spending decisions because of the uncertainty over the outcome of the general election. Those in the mix, reporting a slow down in output growth during these weeks, included housebuilders, commercial builders and civil engineers.

This is a surprise, to some extent, as the requirement generally remains the same in the immediate months following an election, with nothing changing apart from, possibly, the bodies in the seats. The construction industry is still operating in an improved economic climate. At Saracen, our forward order books are full, so we are not expecting the remainder of this year to be altered by a change in government.

What we are all experiencing now is a degree of hesitation. We're entering into the usual period of hype and promise as the months turn into weeks in the run up to this election. As each party lays out its manifesto, we're being subject to a stream of possibilities as to what the future may hold.

Labour's pre-election manifesto guarantees apprenticeships for all school leavers who make the grade, a commitment to the build of at least 200,000 homes a year, support for HS2 and the protection of the schools budget.

The Conservatives are waving the flag of a 'good life for all' with one of their primary promises being the extension of the 'right to buy' for housing association tenants. The party's manifesto lays out an intention to force councils to sell their most valuable housing stock as it falls vacant, reinvesting the proceeds into building new properties. It also promises to establish a £1bn fund to help councils to prepare brownfield sites for housing construction.

We will be keeping a particular eye on all the parties' pledges regarding business taxes as this will have a most definite impact going forward. The Conservative manifesto promises British businesses 'the most competitive taxes of any major economy'…

…Lets all watch this particular space come 8th May!


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