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Election Digest: The final countdown... πŸ•’πŸ—³οΈ


Mid-bungee jump, Sir Ed Davey asked people to do something they’ve never done before and vote Liberal Democrat in tomorrow’s election.

Just like Davey’s latest stunt, we’re diving head-first into the final throws of a campaign which has certainly had its fair share of ups and downs.

Speaking of taking a plunge, newspapers have also set out their stalls this week – putting forward their endorsements on who to vote for.

Although they don’t have the clout they used to hold, The Sun’s infamous ‘It’s the Sun Wot Won It’ article (which claimed credit for the Conservative win in ’92) has certainly focused our attention on paper endorsements ever since.

Labour’s backing is up to twelve, with The Sun, The Sunday Mirror, Sunday People, Observer, Evening Standard, Mirror, Sunday Times, Guardian, Independent, Economist, New Statesman and The FT all endorsing the party.

Having backed the party at every election since 1945, it was hardly surprising to see the Sunday Telegraph and Daily Telegraph back the Conservatives, joining The Sunday Express and Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday.

Notably, The Times is yet to come out with its endorsement… but who has The Daily Star backed, I hear you ask? ‘The most sane politician in the UK’, of course… Count Binface.

With just a day to go, we take a final pre-election look at the sector’s major updates and explore what’s happening across the regions.

Concrete plans…

Our top built environment updates for the week:

📈 – Whichever party forms the next government, Pick Everard and Lichfields’ survey suggests 83% of our sector considers government policy and economic uncertainty as major investment hurdles. It says establishing local plans should be a big priority, with just 22% of local plans forecasted as being fit for purpose by the end of 2025.

🏗️ – Recent analysis has found the industry is feeling dissatisfied with recent ‘lacklustre’ manifesto promises. Survey respondents are urging the incumbent government to streamline planning processes whilst shoring up skills shortages, which remains a critical issue. 

🤞 – The housing crisis will undoubtedly be one of the biggest issues on the ballot paper tomorrow. Over the next Parliament, Labour has promised to build 1.5m homes, with the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats promising 1.6m and 1.9m respectively. Whether mandatory or advisory, quite how the targets would be achieved is less clear. The BBC delves into just how realistic these promises are.

🏡 – In an interview with The Times, Starmer and Reeves said they would implement planning reforms to supercharge housebuilding if it wins tomorrow and “hit the ground running” with a flurry of initiatives from day one.

Local lowdown

East of England – Election hustings have been in full flow in the Eastern region, with Olympic rower-come Colchester’s Conservative candidate James Cracknell testing himself in front of the electorate. He keeps talking about restoring trust… if the Tories are up the creek without a paddle, he might be the right man for the job. Over in Norfolk and Suffolk, conversations around devolution and county deals have been high on the agenda, whilst Starmer was in Hitchin talking about building more houses.

London – It’s expected Labour will do well across London tomorrow, making some gains. Campaigners will look forward to seeing if any trends can be observed in areas where independent candidates stand. The 2026 London local elections will be in the mid-term for Labour and will be the first significant challenge for the party

Midlands – Both Davey and Farage chose to kick off their last days of campaigning in the Midlands, where the fight for votes is extremely close. You only need to look at Ladywood in Birmingham to realise inner-city constituencies aren’t always guaranteed for Labour. Where boundary changes are rife and with foreign policy dominating conversations, there could be some upsets. Conservatives since 2010, Redditch is considered a key bell-weather seat, but polls suggest a Labour win. If polls can be relied on, that will be replicated across large swathes of the region before the night is out. It could be the biggest step forward for building homes in the Midlands for a generation.

North – Before it can think about homes, rebuilding the red wall will be pivotal to Labour’s success. Northern seats which always declare early will indicate the scale of the recovery, and for places such as Leigh, change can’t come soon enough. Residents voted Conservative for the first time in 2019 with the promise of levelling up. Although the town was awarded millions, more than 99% of the funds are yet to be spent. A Parliamentary committee admitted only 10% of the £10bn regeneration fund has been spent, which we suspect will be enough to bring seats like Leigh back into the red wall.

South East – In places where experienced Conservative MPs have built a strong personal following over many years of hard work, tomorrow will be particularly tough. Places like Thanet, where Sir Roger Gale has been the MP for over 40 years. There is a real risk veteran MPs will be swept up in the tide of “change”. What does this mean for us? Across the South East, Friday will usher in a wave of new MPs – likely without the Parliamentary experience to navigate challenging times. In urban parts, such as High Wycombe, pro-growth Labour MPs will likely be elected for the first time in a generation. In rural parts, it will be the Lib Dems who benefit. How they grapple with the inevitable wave of planning reform set to take place will be very interesting to see.

South West – The region is preparing for a bit of a personnel rejig with a smattering of councillors, council leaders and even a metro mayor set to be elevated by their electorate. As we see faces change from South Hams to South Gloucestershire that noise you can hear is emboldened Liberal Democrats (who could be about to win vast swathes of the region’s seats) sharpening their pitchforks to oppose Labour’s development revolution. It’s a sound already focusing the minds of Labour’s expected South West victors on what their relatively tight majorities might look like once tarnished by the government’s unpopularity. Brace yourselves. It won’t be simple.

Making sense of it all…

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