Election 2010: party pledges on the built environment
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April 26 2010
The greatest unknown afflicting all three main parties is where the budgetary axe will fall and how deeply it will cut. The Conservatives were initially most outspoken on the need for retrenchment speaking of an “age of austerity” but swiftly backtracked when commanding poll leads took a subsequent nosedive.
Labour has been hit by their planned 1% rise in National Insurance which employers and the Conservatives have lambasted as a tax on jobs. Labour insists it’s needed to plug the budgetary black hole and is fairer than other taxes – such as a rise in VAT.
Trumpeting the positive Gordon Brown has gone on record to state that the £55bn Building Schools for the Future programme will be “seen through.” The party would also establish a Green Investment Bank to fund UK green projects to the tune of some £2bn.
The Lib Dems for their part are promising the rehabilitation of 250,000 derelict homes across the nation and would devolve more planning rights to the local level and give people the right to appeal planning permissions.
Clegg, political darling of the moment, has pledged to invest more than £3bn in infrastructure through establishment of a National Infrastructure Bank. The party will abandon Labour’s plans to build a new breed of nuclear power stations and prisons however and will raise VAT on new build housing.
Localism is the heartbeat of the Conservatives campaign as the party promotes Local Housing trusts to give communities planning powers to build local housing whilst individuals will have the power to purchase empty government property
Local councils will also be given powers to protect greenbelt land and prevent the construction of Labour championed eco towns.
Current polling suggests a hung parliament is on the cards, likely to usher in a period of political uncertainty and horse trading at a time of economic upheaval. This could play to the advantage of smaller parties such as the SNP who are pledged to block public spending cuts in Scotland and will “work to make sure” the planned British High Speed rail link will ultimately stretch to Glasgow and Edinburgh from London.
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