Full steam ahead for infrastructure: Welsh Labour manifesto

David Morgan

Policy Manager (RICS)

Much of Labour's manifesto refers to the activities of the devolved Welsh Labour Government and re-affirms its commitment to promises, such as the 20,000 affordable homes target, and affirms a desire to ban letting agents’ fees.

Significantly in relation to this general election, the party outlines its support for Welsh infrastructure projects of national significance, namely the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon and other proposed lagoons. Rail electrification and metro transport projects, with the exception of Wylfa, are also backed in Welsh Labour's manifesto, as well as Wyfla Newydd. These projects will all either need the consent or agreement of UK Government after the June election.

However, the support and focus of Welsh Labour on infrastructure is heartening and we very much hope they and the National Infrastructure Commission co-ordinate with UK Government and the Adonis Commission, whoever forms the Westminster administration after the election.

A new Development Bank of Wales will be very much under the aegis of a Welsh Labour Government and, while welcome in principle, the detail will be key to any success. We look forward to working with all stakeholders to support the delivery of key infrastructure projects for Wales and the UK post-election.

Infrastructure

The party has a clear and heavy focus on infrastructure, which is in common with Plaid Cymru, but and in contrast to the conservatives in Wales. Specific project demands by Welsh Labour include:

  • Support for the Wylfa Newydd nuclear plant on Anglesey.
  • Giving control of the police to the Welsh Government.
  • Support for tidal lagoons, including Swansea.
  • Giving Wales the same amount of economic aid post-Brexit.
  • Working with Welsh Government to scrap Severn Bridge tolls.
  • An M4 relief road.
  • Improving the A55 in North Wales.
  • Rail electrification.
  • South and North East Wales metros.

Rural

Welsh Labour has relatively little in the way of active proposals on rural matters, which may reflect a view that this is an area largely in the province of the Welsh Assembly and hence more for Assembly elections. The party affirms its commitment to rural broadband and proposes a seasonal agricultural. A commitment to a rural developments policy is welcome, but we can only fully assess this when it develops. Elsewhere, the party criticises the conservatives on fracking and promises a Welsh National Marine plan.

An awkward position

Welsh Labour has found itself in something of an awkward position as a proudly unionist party, but one that was strongly against Brexit prior to the referendum. It has adopted a position midway between the conservatives and Plaid Cymru, accepting the referendum but prioritising access to the single market. They also remain committed to devolution and presume that powers returned from Brussels will be devolved to Wales.

At present, polls indicate a substantial conservative majority, so how much of the party’s proposals can be carried into action remains to be seen. As Wales heads for its third major vote in three years, we stand ready to work with stakeholders across the political spectrum to support the best possible future for the land, property and construction in Wales.

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