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Author: Tom Crane – Glenigan Economist (@TC_Glenigan)

With the general election campaigns entering crunch time, the last two weeks have seen a flurry of manifesto releases from the main candidates. There were few surprises, at least to anyone who had perused Glenigan’s special General Election report, which covered the previous announcements and hints by the challengers.

However one party who managed to keep a few more details under their hats was the Scottish Nationalist Party, who deliberately timed their manifesto release to land after the main UK parties. 


Polling suggests they will be the third largest party in the UK parliament following the election in 10 days’ time, with the May2015.com site, run by The New Statesman, predicting that the SNP will win 55 seats to the Liberal Democrats’ 25. 

Although Labour has ruled out a formal coalition and the Conservatives are actively campaigning against the SNP, that presence in the house means they would have the ear of any leader wishing to govern.

So here is a rundown of the SNP’s main construction related priorities, which would impact the UK as a whole:

  • Pledge to back targets to build 100,000 affordable homes across the UK every year. 
  • Push for the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) to be funded through general taxation. 
  • Push for an expansion of the Renewable Heat Initiative, to be continued past 2015.
  • Seek to alter the Contract for Difference (CfD) regime to give support to offshore wind. 
  • Seek support for onshore wind throughout the next Parliament.
  • Press the UK Government to introduce effective legal protections to ensure small businesses are paid on time.
  • Seek for HS2 to connect to Scotland as a “priority” with construction beginning in Scotland as well as England, and a high speed connection between Glasgow, Edinburgh and the north of England as part of any high-speed rail network.

Targets to build 100,000 affordable homes per year would be welcome and go some way to easing the UK’s woefully short supply of homes. However the fiscal straightjackets the traditional parties have committed themselves to means this is unlikely to be feasible.

Policies on both renewable energy generation and domestic energy efficiency indicate that SNP policies line up most closely with those of the Liberal Democrats and Labour amongst the traditional parties. 

As noted in Glenigan’s report, the prize for the UK construction industry from a government cracking energy efficiency improvements would be substantial. The SNP appear to favour the ECO scheme as the way of delivering this, rather than interest-free loans or a revamp of the Green Deal championed by Labour and the Liberal Democrats. Support for on-shore wind, as with other policies, contrasts with Conservatives and UKIP. 

Recognition of the issue of late payment is welcome, though of course the details (which are absent in the manifesto) are important. 

However the ambition to extend the HS2 route, and start construction from both London and Scotland, would likely to lead to fraught negotiations if either the Conservatives or Labour were to rely on them to govern.

Which party do you think best represents the interests of the UK construction industry? Get involved with the debate on our social media channels using the share buttons below.

PR contacts:

Kirsty Maclagan (Marketing and Communications Manager)
T: +44 (0)1202 786 842│E: kirsty.maclagan@glenigan-old.thrv.uk

Tom Crane (Economist)
T: +44 (0)20 7715 6297│E: tom.crane@glenigan-old.thrv.uk

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