Plant bodies ready to engage with new government to address major issues

Viki Bell
Viki Bell

THE Construction Equipment Association (CEA) has said the change in leadership at the top of UK politics presents a ‘unique opportunity’ to propel the construction equipment industry into a ‘new era of innovation and sustainability’.

The organisation congratulated the Labour Party and new PM Sir Keir Starmer on the landslide General Election victory and said it was ‘ready to engage actively’ with the new government to address the challenges and seize the opportunities available.

Viki Bell, director of operations, CEA, said, “The commitment to decarbonisation, digital transformation, and skills development outlined in Labour’s platform aligns closely with our industry’s goals. Labour’s plans to introduce a new industrial strategy, developed in partnership with businesses through an Industrial Strategy Council, will leverage Britain’s strengths in life sciences, digital, creative industries, financial services, and clean power. This collaboration will drive growth and innovation, benefiting the construction equipment industry and the wider economy.

“The party’s promise to build 1.5 million new homes in England over the next five years is a remarkable initiative that will stimulate demand in the construction equipment sector, a level of housebuilding not seen since the 1960s. This very ambitious target and reforms in housebuilding economics and bureaucracy will likely boost private sector participation, benefiting our industry significantly.

“Decarbonisation remains a critical priority for us. Labour’s substantial investment of £23.7 billion in green measures during the next parliament emphasises the central role of green policies in driving growth and prosperity. We anticipate robust support from the Labour government in advancing innovative technologies, including electric and hydrogen-powered machinery. Establishing a national alternative fuel infrastructure is essential, and we look forward to contributing to these transformative efforts.

“The party’s plan to allocate £1.7 billion a year for the Great British Energy company aims to accelerate the roll-out of renewables and nuclear power, creating 650,000 jobs by 2030. This initiative will drive industrial renewal, lower energy bills, and ensure secure, clean energy supplies, promoting a stable environment for construction projects.

“The digitalisation of our industry is another important area. We are ready to collaborate on harmonising digital legislation and enhancing cybersecurity measures. Addressing the skills gap is imperative for maintaining our competitive edge, and we are eager to work with Labour to attract and develop the next generation of talent.

“Lastly, we urge the new government to ensure regulatory stability and alignment with European standards, vital for maintaining our international competitiveness. Together, we can adopt a sustainable, innovative, and prosperous future for the UK construction equipment sector.”

Chris Cassley, policy manager of the Construction Plant-hire Association (CPA), also offered congratulations and said the new government must work with the construction industry in addressing ‘critical’ issues such as decarbonisation, improving productivity, housebuilding, and renewing ageing infrastructure.

“All of this requires a long-term vision and consistency from government in how policies are developed and implemented,” he added. “Providing the stability and economic foundations needed for lasting economic growth comes only from engagement with industry in understanding the challenges companies face – and how they can be overcome.

“As new ministers and officials take up their roles in the coming days, the CPA looks forward to working with the new government in achieving this aim.”