Election 24: CLC calls for planning reform and retrofit road map

The Construction Leadership Council (CLC) has called on the next government to reform the planning system and provide a “regulatory roadmap” for boosting retrofit.

In a three-page open letter signed by 16 council members (see box below), the group listed 12 policies it would like to see enacted by whoever wins the general election on 4 July. The policies cover five areas: pipeline, procurement, places to live, performance, and people.

The policy wishlist includes “urgent implement[ation] of planning reform”; the unlocking of small sites for SME housebuilders; the encouragement of build-to-rent; and a 10-year “policy and regulatory framework” for accelerating the uptake of retrofit across housing types.

The letter also calls for the publication of a 10-year infrastructure strategy, the continued reformation of prompt payment legislation, continued regulatory reform in building and safety products, as well as reform of the Apprenticeship Levy.

According to the CLC, the policies would lead to a closing of the productivity gap between construction and the rest of the economy, which “could generate £45bn of additional added value each year for the UK” – equivalent to 2 per cent of the UK’s GDP.

The CLC’s 12 recommendations are expanded on in a three-page annex to the letter. In it, the CLC stresses the need for clarity in order for the construction industry “to plan, retain staff and invest accordingly”.

It also quotes a Federation of Master Builders’ survey that found that 53 per cent of SME builders said the availability of land was the main challenge they were facing over the next three years.

The CLC is a partnership between the construction industry and government. Its co-chair Alan Mak, the minister for industry and economic security, did not sign the open letter. Its final policy recommendation requests that the next UK government “sets out the role [it] would like the CLC to play in implementing the recommendations”.

Signatories to the CLC’s open letter

  • Mark Reynolds, Mace (CLC co-chair)
  • Richard Robinson, AtkinsRealis (CLC deputy chair)
  • Richard Beresford, National Federation of Builders
  • John Newcombe, Builders Merchants Federation
  • Brian Berry, Federation of Master Builders
  • Suzannah Nichol, Build UK
  • Peter Caplehorn, Construction Products Association
  • David Pinder, Green Construction Board
  • Steve Bratt, Electrical Contractors’ Association
  • Alasdair Reisner, Civil Engineering Contractors Association
  • Alice Courtney-Harris, Institution of Civil Engineers
  • Anna Scothern, National Home Improvement Council
  • Kate Jennings, Association for Consultancy and Engineering
  • Graham Watts, Construction Industry Council
  • Ian Fletcher, British Property Federation
  • Hannah Vickers, ConstructZero

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