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Spotlight Newsletter

General Election News & Insight – 12 June

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Written By:

Daniel Fryd


12th June 2024


Spotlight – Luminate’s guide to the news, views and insights shaping the Development, Infrastructure and Energy sectors.

As part of our weekly pre-election specials, this issue focuses on the Conservative and Lib Dem manifesto pledges you might have missed, the key policies in Labour’s upcoming manifesto launch, and the more bizarre campaign moments shaping our future.

We’ve had a very positive response to our free online General Election Briefings for organisations in the sector, with our first session starting bright and early at 9:00am on Monday! Book yours today to discuss what the GE campaign means for you, and to refine your strategy for life under the next Government.

(woaaaah) We’re halfway there..

It’s three weeks down, with three to go until the 4 July election. Here’s our top picks for your enjoyment during manifesto-launch week:

Manifesting for success

The Conservative manifesto launched yesterday, with Sunak knowing significant announcements would be needed to shrink the 20% gap in the polls with Labour. Housing, it seemed, was the policy area of choice…

Home ownership has been a pillar of British Conservatism for decades, and a number of Government schemes in recent years have been very popular: Theresa May invested £10bn to boost the Help to Buy scheme in 2017, and Boris Johnson’s extension of Right to Buy in 2022 was welcomed by aspiring homeowners.

However, whilst there were some interesting policies in yesterday’s manifesto for those in the industry, none feel like the game-changer the party needs, amounting to:

  • Abolish nutrient neutrality laws (no, you’re not mistaken, Government did already try this last year and it failed in the House of Lords),
  • 1.6 million new homes (0.1m more than Labour’s commitment…) over 5 years,
    A ‘cast-iron’ commitment to protect the green belt,
  • Fast-track brownfield development,
  • A new version of Help to Buy, providing equity loans of up to 20% towards the cost of a new-build home,
  • Increased housing density in cities,
  • Abolish stamp duty for first-time buyers on homes up to £425,000.

Quite how 1.6 million homes are going to be built on brownfield and in inner cities alone will be the subject of much discussion over the next three weeks.

Davey brings HS2 back on track?

The Lib Dems kicked off the week in style, and when Ed Davey wasn’t eating ice creams on the Rubber Dingy Rapids at Thorpe Park, he was making some fairly solid manifesto commitments.

Despite being the underdog, they’ve brought out the big guns on housing and planning, with a promise to build 380,000 homes a year – that’s 1.9 million over five years, compared to Conservatives’ 1.6m and Labour’s 1.5m. Included in the mix are 150,00 social homes and ten new garden cities.

They’ve also pledged to require every new building to meet zero-carbon standards, with solar panels on every roof, and landlords needing to upgrade energy efficiency standards to EPC C or above by 2028.

On energy, the Lib Dems will aim for 90% of the UK’s electricity to come from renewables by 2030, bidding farewell to coal mines. They would also restore the requirement for every new car and small van sold from 2030 to be zero-emission.

What may come as a surprise to some is the mention of HS2. The Lib Dems have said they will review the cancellation of HS2’s northern leg – seeing if private investment can be encouraged to revive it. Will HS2’s northern leg be given a second chance?

Labour’s Manifesto moment

As if the Conservative and Lib Dem manifestos aren’t enough excitement for one week, we have Labour’s manifesto coming out on Thursday.

Labour’s ‘Ming Vase’ strategy means there’s unlikely to be any significant new announcements – outside of what we already know – that could potentially upset parts of the electorate. Keep an eye out for planning reform, grey belt, planning passports and new CPO powers.

Next week’s Spotlight will include a full summary. Meanwhile…

GB Energy starts to move needle for Labour

The past fortnight has seen Labour provide further details on its plans for GB Energy as a vehicle to unlock investment and deliver transformative projects for the UK in clean energy technologies.

Polling released by YouGov this week shows the pledge to launch GB Energy coming in as the fourth most popular policy pledge announced by any party to date – meeting with approval ratings of 74% vs 9% opposing.

For context – that’s more popular than the Lib Dems pledge to provide free school meals to all Primary School Age children (which 18% of those polled apparently oppose…), and slightly behind protecting the UK’s rivers from sewage. So, fair to say it’s landing well.

The PM has been articulating the Conservative’s own offer on this area this week and of course YouGov’s poll doesn’t include the policies contained in their manifesto launch on Wednesday. Whatever your perspective on the parties’ ability to deliver on these comments, it’s interesting to see energy and environment consistently punching up the running order of priorities for voters.

Learning lessons from Gen Z

Election campaigns often bring moments that become campaigning case studies. So full marks to Labour’s digital communications team who brought us one such moment last week.

As a Conservative election broadcast went out last Thursday evening viewers were told to Google “Labour tax rises document.” The Prime Minister repeated this during the debate, and encouraged the audience to search for it.

Within minutes, Labour’s digital comms team had bought paid advertising via Google’s promoted search terms for ‘Labour Tax Rises Document’ which took the top spot on Google off the Conservatives and redirected users to Labour documents countering the claims made in the Conservative’s dossier.

Quick thinking, and something we could see becoming more commonplace in campaigns to come.

Next week

We hope you enjoyed our second edition of Spotlight. We’ve got over 700 followers and rising on LinkedIn, where you can follow us to hear more.

And ahead of next week:

  • Let us know what you’d like to see included in next week’s edition
  • Get election-ready and book your General Election Briefing in today, to discuss with our expert team what the GE campaign, and life under the next Government, will mean for your organisation

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