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Tory manifesto promises action on apprenticeships and housing

The Conservative Party has pledged to invest in apprenticeships, infrastructure and housing if it remains in power next month.

In an 80-page manifesto published this afternoon (11 June), the Tories unveiled policies including investment in rail, road and energy infrastructure as well as boosting housebuilding on brownfield land (see more on these below).

The ruling party said it would create “100,000 more apprenticeships in England every year by the end of the next Parliament”, as well as reforming education for 16-19 year olds to “end the damaging divide between academic and technical education”.

It also vowed to “promote digital invoicing and improve enforcement of the Prompt Payment Code” – under which major government suppliers including several tier one contractors ought to pay 95 per cent of invoices from small businesses within 30 days.

The party, led by prime minister Rishi Sunak (pictured), also said it would improve finance for SMEs and increase the employee threshold under which companies have to publish detailed financial accounts.

However, the manifesto makes no direct reference to the construction industry and contains no pledges relating to an overhaul of the UK planning system, beyond changes to the infrastructure approval process. The manifesto has received a mixed-response from industry

The Conservative Party said it would oversee construction of 1.6 million homes in England during the next Parliament – equivalent to 320,000 per year over a five-year period – including “delivering a record number of homes each year on brownfield land in urban areas”.

They said they would achieve the latter by “providing a fast-track route through the planning system for new homes on previously developed land in the 20 largest cities” as well as by creating “locally-led urban development corporations in partnership with the private sector”.

The party said it would look to raise “density levels” in inner London so they are comparable with Paris and Barcelona. It would do this by “forcing” mayor Sadiq Khan to plan for more homes on brownfield sites.

However, the party made a “cast-iron commitment to protect the greenbelt from uncontrolled development”.

The Tories reiterated their commitment to abolishing net-neutrality rules, which continue to be a major impediment to housebuilding in certain areas. They also said they would renew the current Affordable Homes Programme.

They also said that small housebuilders would be supported by requiring councils to set aside land for them and “lifting Section 106 burdens on more smaller sites”.

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