Corbyn For Construction? Vote Results

Regardless of your political persuasion, Jeremy Corbyn’s ideas have certainly got people talking.

Following our survey earlier in the year (Construction: Impact Following The Election – Survey Results), the majority of readers (67.7%) assessed the impact of the Conservative win as “positive” (14% voted “negative”).

So we thought it would be interesting to dig down and analyse a policy from the opposition which would affect construction.

Corbyn’s idea is “People’s Quantitative Easing (QE)”. In simple terms, it means using QE (i.e. printing money) to fund infrastructure investment, building new homes and supporting green industries.

We asked you to separate your political persuasions out and vote just on this issue. “I am for it”, “I am against it?”, “I have concerns” or “Other”.

And the results are in:

CorbynForConstructionGraph

Well, the majority with 51.7% of the vote are against it. With 31.7% supporting it, it was interesting to note that 16.7% stated “I have concerns”.

While it is a significant vote against, interestingly it is not as clear cut as the previous vote which effectively gave a green light to the Conservatives for their impact on construction.

Without scratching beneath the surface and examining too deeply what it is, it does seem the policy is aimed at stimulating construction with infrastructure and increased housebuilding.

So why are people in Construction so against it? Let’s take a look at what people said when they accompanied their vote with a comment:

The “I Am AGAINST It” Commentators

Generally speaking, the tone of those against it could be summed up in one word: Vehement.

Like this commenter, from a construction company in London:

“If on a significant scale it will create inflation; if small scale it will achieve nothing except raising UK government borrowing cost as it conflicts with all conventional economic thinking; it will distort the market and result in inefficiency and corruption; it will pass on costs to future generations and governments.

“There is no such thing as free money. If there was the world would have twigged by now. Japan wouldn’t have stagnated for a generation, Argentina would be an economic success story not a tragedy of wasted potential.

“This is not a new idea, history is littered with attempts to print money. Weimar Germany being the most spectacular disaster in a long list. These dangerous morons should keep their noses out of discredited Marxist ramblings, stop reading anything by Guardian columnists and study economic history.”

An equally passionate, but perhaps more balanced perspective came from a London-based architect:

“I am against this because it is a very easy sound bite without considered consequences …nothing in this world comes for free…Though I am in favour of infrastructure spending if it is part of a grand plan which is properly costed and considered.”

And another London-based architect simply says: “Reason? Unsustainable and not in touch with reality.”

With perhaps a hint of political persuasion the following target their views at either Corbyn or the Labour party

“The gentlemen is 180 degrees opposite to my views on just about everything.” (Managing Director, Contractor, Guildford)

“I don`t trust Corbyn and “Green” issues are just another way to fleece the already hard pressed British public.” (Construction Company, Wiltshire)

“Nothing Labour ever does works but they always end up virtually bankrupting the country.” (Architect, Bradford)

The “I Am FOR It” Commentators

Again, there was a similar degree of passion in those who support the initiative. But more of the respondents focus on the QE aspect of the concept.

Several respondents look at the difference between the QE witnessed during the recession to draw a comparison:

“I’m for it because sensible economists have backed it, because the housing shortage is at crisis point, because the strength of the pound shows that the existing QE is accepted by the money markets, even though it doesn’t strengthen the economy (it only supports intangible asset prices), while this sort of QE will strengthen the construction sector and provide large numbers of jobs.” (Architect, London).

And

“There is no other way to go! this government’s policies are daft & destructive. We need a new green industry and that has to be predominantly via the construction sector. ‘Printing money’ is what governments always need to do to invest in the country for its greater good, it should not be a pejorative term, and funnily enough it isn’t used that way when government money is funnelled into banks & the financial sector. The PEOPLE need it NOW.”

And

“Because he is talking about the government owning and printing the money on which we will pay interest so it goes back to us (the people), and not the privately owned bank of England which prints money into existence and then charges the government interest on it. It’s not rocket science, biggest scam of the 20th century.” (Flooring Specialist, West Yorkshire)

While a contractor from Staffordshire focuses on what they believe is a key responsibility of the government to address the housing crisis:

“The provision of decent affordable/rental housing stock… Like decent health and education systems are the duty of responsible government… Not the needs of profit.”

And finally, a London architect casts his vote with a condition: “But with a proviso that it’s very carefully targeted and on direct investment, not on ‘privatised’ schemes like the Green Deal.”

The “I Have CONCERNS” Commentators

Perhaps this voting option was less of the usual “sitting on the fence” option in the typical survey, as the same passion comes through as you can see in this example from a construction company in Accrington:

“We have been through this before with the last labour government and it led to disaster and a 5 year recession.”

And put succinctly, a Birmingham-based construction company simply adds: “There’s always a negative effect printing money.”

Moving away from the core question, a roofing specialist from County Durham believes there is a bigger issue before we can even consider housing investment:

“I suppose the issue at the moment is skills shortages – if you don’t have the labour force to build, what is the point of more housing? Training needs to come first.”

QE Not As Popular

So even though QE to fund a housebuilding, infrastructure and green industries push would appear to be in the interests of the construction sector, it gets an overall thumbs down.

To counter that, those who support it are seeing QE aimed at direct investment as more favourable than the QE witnessed during the recession.

Either way, resolving the skills issues, and poor levels of newly built housing stock is clearly an issue before 2020 when, if elected, this policy would first see any forward movement.

In the meantime, are you creating sufficient surpluses to attract and pay the higher salaries and packages to attract the right staff?

Are you winning the right tenders? If you need an agency to get you or keep you winning the best projects around, why not give us a call?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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