What issues would you like to see debated in the General Election campaign?
Phillip Hall MCIOB, Hall Construction
I want to see active debate on the present and future situation regarding housing stock. The current government target is well behind schedule and proposals are required to bring targets back on track. I would also like to see credible proposals on affordable housing to meet the huge shortfall of stock.
Householders should be encouraged to make green improvements to their homes. Cutting VAT on repair and maintenance work from 17.5% to 5% could make a big impact and encourage a broader spectrum of people to invest in their properties.
I want positive action on construction training with a realistic programme to meet the industry’s requirements.
Frances Gannon, architect, Make
It’s vital that parties keep the momentum up on tackling climate change. After Copenhagen people may think that green issues have been done and dusted, but we have to keep up the debate. It’s also worrying to see businesses using the economic situation as an excuse not to bother with environmental aims.
I want to see the parties focus more on upgrading existing buildings. There’s too much emphasis on making new builds zero carbon, when existing housing stock is such a huge factor in emissions. The government should encourage home owners to make green improvements, perhaps by cutting VAT on maintenance and repairs.
On a personal note, I was appalled to read that England has been worst hit by an increase in severe child poverty, with more than 1.5 million children living in families earning 50% below the average income. It’s unbelievable that one of Labour’s goals was to reduce levels of child poverty, and in a developed nation like ours it should not be an issue.
Lucynda Jensen MCIOB, Bovis Lend Lease
A key manifesto pledge for all parties must be investment in renewable energy projects and they must remain committed to this, while ensuring the projects are economically viable.
I’m also concerned that Crossrail remains a priority if a Tory government enters office. Infrastructure accounts for 17% of UK construction output, so this project is key to the industry’s recovery and must be pushed by the Conservatives.
Unemployment in construction could also be cut by approving funding for the 160,000 new homes targeted by 2016. Green-lighting the cash would give struggling housebuilders the assurance to take on staff.
Guy Fairweather FCIOB, head of ISG Jackson Academy
One of the most pressing issues should be proper investment in, and commitment to, high-quality training to help create the industry’s next generation of construction managers. We need to stop just giving the impression of career development and start providing the passion and the resources to make construction the most sought after “gig” for youngsters.
Emma Nicholson MCIOB, senior project manager, Stace Project Management
I’m part of a CIOB Sustainability Satellite Group and I’d like to see active policies to ensure that the public sector can deliver on long-term emissions targets through to 2020 and beyond.
I want to see more government incentives for people to cut CO2 emissions in their homes and businesses. The 10:10 campaign, which allows individuals and businesses to support a national drive to cut Britain’s emissions by 10% in 2010, is effective, but needs greater promotion.
Robert Fry, managing director Europe, Swanke Hayden Connell
I’d like to know how real the public sector commitment to building things is. In the General Election campaign, we need some hard numbers from all the parties. It’s all so vague – there’s talk of money for education and health investment being ear-marked or set aside, but what does it really mean? And we don’t need any more restructuring of government departments, or revisions to procurement processes and frameworks.