UK construction braced for Labour election victory

Survey paints a ‘worrying picture’ said Gleeds CEO Graham Harle

Around two-thirds of respondents to the autumn survey think Labour will win, although 40% would prefer a Conservative victory.

This is despite the fact that Gleeds’ summer survey found that fewer than one in five construction professionals expressed confidence that the current government could improve market conditions and increase construction output.

Interest rates and inflation remain the number one concern with 85% of all respondents reporting that it was still heavily impacting the viability of schemes – down only slightly from 93% last time.

Materials and labour also continue to be an issue, although 79% of respondents said that materials prices have stabilised and 88% believed product availability is also improved.

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Gleeds chief executive Graham Harle said: “Our summer survey revealed a lack of faith in the current government as far as bolstering the construction industry goes, and just under 30% of those we spoke to this time answered ‘none’ when asked which political party would offer greatest support to the industry and inspire most confidence in investors. This paints a worrying picture for those of us working in the built environment, who clearly feel underrepresented and disillusioned by a lack of backing and direction from successive governments. We will be looking at manifestos with renewed interest as election campaigns ramp up over the next 12 months and in light of recent reversals for HS2 and proposed planning changes.”

The survey also asked people about their use of artificial intelligence (AI). It found that, while most are in favour of AI being integrated into the industry, 57% had either never used or never heard of tools like ChatGPT. 

A lack of knowledge about how AI could be used in construction is the primary barrier to greater implementation, the survey found. There is also general reluctance to embrace change, a lack of training from employers, and a belief among some that the technology represents a threat.

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