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How will the General Election impact on economic development and regeneration?

21/05/15

On the 7th of May, the country entered the polling stations once again to decide how our country will be run. With David Cameron’s conservative party returning to number 10 this time without the need to form a coalition.

Politicians representing all major parties had plenty to say in the lead up to the election, but the big question on everyone’s lips is how will the result of the General Election impact on our undeniably delicate economy?

To assess this, it is important to break this down into key areas: infrastructure, transport, devolution and business rates; whilst looking at what the new government’s views on each of these major areas are.

Infrastructure

Infrastructural development is vital to any regeneration or rebuilding project so it’s hardly surprising that the political parties are keen to get their voices heard on this issue.

The Conservative party have pledged £100-billion pounds investment into UK infrastructure with a particular focus on securing superfast broadband in rural locations and guaranteeing coverage of 95% of the country by 2017.

The issue of affording this enhancement of services is thought to be met by reducing the cost of installing cable satellite in more remote locations – bringing the whole country up to speed without spending a fortune.

Transport

As well as wider infrastructural focuses, transport issues have also come to the fore. To achieve successful regeneration, the country needs a strong transport network that is both efficient and convenient.

The new government has pledged to, invest £13 billion into public transport for the North – where the ‘northern powerhouses' are growing at an outstanding rate – and introducing smart ticketing and part-time season tickets to offer greater value to commuters.

Devolution

All parties highlighted the importance of the devolution agenda and rebalancing the economy with grassroots level investment is a key focus for all. 

The new government have promised to ensure London isn’t the only high-performing city with the creation of the Northern Powerhouse and also intend to give Mayors power over budgets for social care, transport and economic development. Bespoke Growth Deals are also part of the plan.

Business rates

Finally, business rates are set to undergo a fairly big change as the country looks to push itself forward.

David Cameron wants to conduct a huge review before the end of the year and has promised big changes by 2017 following these results.

What do we think?

Whilst the new government has emphasised its commitment to regeneration and to the UK economy, only time will tell if their manifesto will work well enough to actually achieve success.

As a country, we need greater investments into the infrastructure and devolution of Britain; something which each party claims they’ll provide. The important thing to remember is that a delicate balance needs to be struck between spending and saving – or investing and cutting.

Budget cuts, taxes and business rates have affected businesses of all sizes and if the new government is to really improve the situation then it needs to look not only at which areas of the industry need the most support but how to provide that support without negatively affecting another area.

All of these policy areas will, of course, have leadership and staffing implications.  How will Local Authorities across the UK achieve greater investment in infrastructure and economic growth in a time of austerity and where will the skills come from to deliver some challenging goals?

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