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Election 2017 | Key results and industry reaction

Theresa May
  • Hung parliament – ‘‘potentially the worst possible outcome for our industry” says Ramboll
  • Widespread concern in profession over delays to infrastructure projects
  • Question mark over May’s future as Boris rumours swirl
  • Shares steady at big consulting firms as Pound falls

Not the result giving the strong and stable government Theresa May was campaigning for. What was deemed a certain victory for the Conservatives back in April has now produced a hung parliament. New Civil Engineer brings you the reaction as it comes in.

17.25 That’s all for today. There will be more analysis and updates on Monday. Have a great weekend.

16:50 What are the DUP’s infrastructure policies?

The only major national infrastructure project to get a special mention in the DUP manifesto is Heathrow’s expansion, which the party calculates will mean better connectivity for Belfast. The rest of the DUP’s focus lies firmly in Northern Ireland.

A £1bn Northern Ireland Infrastructure Fund first proposed in 2014 has found its way into the party’s Westminster manifesto. It would be used to finance energy generation projects and renewables (although there is no mention of renewable heat schemes) as well as housing and regeneration projects.

Road connectivity will get a boost under the DUP, which supports dualling sections of the A5 and A6. New projects along the A8 Belfast to Larne dual carriageway, A2 Shore Road, Greenisland dual carriageway, the A26 Frosses Road and the Magherafelt bypass are also pledged.

Public transport schemes such as the £175M Belfast Transport Hub will be supported by the DUP. Enabling works start on the rail and bus hub in 2018, with a view to opening the hub in 2021. The Belfast Rapid Transit Scheme, due to open in September 2018, also gets renewed backing from the party.

15:00 Labour candidate for Dartford Dr Bachchu Kailash Kaini told New Civil Engineer he will continue campaigning for the Lower Thames Crossing despite losing out to the Conservatives’ Gareth Johnson, who was re-elected with a 13,186 majority.

“As a councillor for Dartford I will always put Dartford residents first, that’s what I do, that’s what I would like to do in the future, and I always campaigned for Dartford Option C [the Lower Thames Crossing preferred route],” he said.

14:46 Democratic Unionists confirm talks with Conservatives.

Arlene Foster told reporters that the country faces “uncertainty at Westminster”.

She said: “We will enter discussions to explore how it may be possible to bring stability to our nation at this time of great challenge.”

12:56 Brief statement from Theresa May.

“I will form a government that can provide certainty and lead Britain forward at this critical time for our country.”

May said she will carry on Brexit negotiations as timetabled and the government will be formed by the Conservatives and the DUP.

She made no reference to last night’s losses.

“Now let’s get to work,” she said at the end.

12:47 Lectern placed outside 10 Downing Street as May statement awaited, following her meeting with the Queen.

12.19 To put an extraordinary year in perspective, this time last year George Osborne was running the economy. Now he is editing a newspaper and here is the latest edition.

general election

George Osborne Tweet

Source: @George_Osborne / Twitter

12:21 Arup director Tim Chapman tells New Civil Engineer: “The election result is very significant for construction. On the one hand, there will be more political uncertainty and perhaps paralysis in high level decision making for some time, possibly until a next election. On the other hand, I believe that it reduces the risk of a damaging Brexit, which would bring detrimental effects for construction.”

12:15 Scottish National Party leader Nicola Sturgeon: “We will work with others if at all possible to keep Tories out.” Also pays tribute to ”giant of Scottish politics” Alex Salmond who lost his seat last night.

12:09 Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron’s press conference says it is ”inconceivable” that Brexit negotiations should begin in two weeks’ time.

On Theresa May: “If she has an ounce of self-respect she will resign.”

On Nick Clegg who lost his seat last night: “Our party paid a political price for joining that coalition, but it was nothing compared to the price our country would have paid were it not for Nick showing steel and determination when it was needed most.”

On the campaign: “The hardest of elections marred by the tragedy of those two vile terrorist attacks.”

On the Lib Dem result: “Made progress in incredibly difficult circumstances.”

11.07: Says New Civil Engineer editor Mark Hansford: “So what next? Concerning times for those seeking decisions on major infrastructure projects. At least the two major parties broadly agree on infrastructure investment and are both firmly behind HS2. Other schemes might be more at risk.”

11:00 Aecom UK and Ireland chief executive Patrick Flaherty voiced more concerns about delays.

“We must support all those who live and work in the UK and maintain our competitiveness on the international stage, building and developing relationships in Europe and beyond,” he said. “We take encouragement from the fact that all the mainstream parties have highlighted the need for a continued focus on developing the economy, and we would strongly oppose any delay or change to the major infrastructure programs currently under way.”

10:52 The Nuclear Industry Association (NIA) has urged the next government to get on with the job of resolving uncertainty around Euratom, ensuring the nuclear industry avoids a “Brexit cliff edge”.

“If current policy is maintained, which would see the UK withdraw from Euratom, the new Government must, as a matter of urgency, look to ensure alternative arrangements are in place as soon as possible to avoid a damaging cliff edge,” said (NIA) chief executive Tom Greatrex.

“The clock is ticking towards March 2019, and without equivalent new arrangements, the exponential economic growth potential of the UK’s nuclear programme could well be lost.”

10.41 UKIP leader Paul Nuttall resigns. Could Farage return?

Lagoon wall  Tidal Lagoon Power  3x2

Lagoon wall Tidal Lagoon Power 3x2

10.35 Tidal Lagoon Power’s Swansea Bay chair and former Atkins chief executive Keith Clarke stresses the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon pathfinder project urgently needs a decision on its future from a steady government.

“I think quite clearly we need a strong and stable leadership, and we need some decisions from government,” he said, adding that a response to the Hendry review, published six months ago, should be a priority when the new government has been formed.

“The very credibility of government is really being called into question: are independent reviews meaningful, or are they simply wasting time and taxpayers’ money?

“Our economy can’t carry on with a complete vacuum of decisions. We will not be a strong and stable economy: we need government to have policies and get on with it.”

10:02 Mace deputy chief operating officer Mark Castle is concerned a hung parliament will slow investment and appointment decisions.

“This result is certainly not what most in the sector will have been expecting – or indeed hoping for – and it’s too early to tell what impact it will have in the long term,” he said. “Investors and developers crave certainty and stability; there is a real risk that a hung parliament will slow investment and appointment decisions.

“At Mace, our hope is that whoever ends up as our next prime minister, they recognise the importance of ensuring that sectors like construction retain access to the talent they need to keep delivering sustainable growth for Britain.”

09:51 Civil Engineers Contractors Association highlights concern over delays to infrastructure decisions.

CECA director of external affairs Marie-Claude Hemming said: “With the shape of any future government hanging in the balance, we worry that this may create further delays to vital decisions that were put on hold due to the election.

“Our most recent member survey showed orders dropping for infrastructure contractors for the first quarter since 2013. A lack of clear leadership in Westminster creates a real risk that this potential future downturn will become entrenched due to an inability to get vital decisions over the line.

“We hope that there will be an early resolution to the current uncertainty over the shape of any new Government, allowing decisions on projects such as HS2 to be made and work to get underway on building the infrastructure that the UK needs.”

09:44 Atkins share price stands at  £20.71 – up 0.24% from yesterday.

Balfour Beatty share price is 272.36p, down 1.10%.

Other firms such as WSP and Aecom are listed on the New York Stock Exchange and Toronto Stock Exchange respectively, which is yet to open today.

09:41 The Renewable Energy Association has called for commitment on renewables from the main parties despite the inconclusive election result. 

“The renewable and clean tech industry has been waiting for nearly a year for the release of the Clean Growth Plan and it’s now critical for us that we have a clear commitment and direction, no matter what shade of government,” said chief executive Nina Skorupska.

09:35 Ramboll UK managing director Mathew Riley says hung parliament is ‘‘potentially the worst possible outcome for our industry”.

“Whilst the main parties have pledged to invest in our social and economic infrastructure there are some major differences in their approach. A hung parliament is potentially the worst possible outcome for our industry at a time when confidence needs to be restored and stable policies required for investment,” he said.

“This government can start to gain credibility by making early commitments to stimulate this activity. However, there must now be real collaboration across our industry to demonstrate we can innovate, be more productive, and reduce risk. Surely now is that catalyst to finally reform our design, engineering and construction, to the way it should be. We need to reach out and help government and not just stand by and watch it struggle.”

09:26 On a lighter note, some reaction from New Civil Engineer Mark Hansford who was surprisingly accurate last night.

general election

Mark Hansford Twitter

09:20 British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) says ‘workable administration’ must be immediate priority.

BCC director general Dr Adam Marshall said: “After two long years of elections, referenda and wider uncertainty, many businesses were doing their best to ignore the noise of politics – up until today.

“The electorate’s split decision generates further uncertainty for business communities, who are already grappling with currency fluctuations, rising costs, and the potential impacts of Brexit.

“The formation of a workable administration that can give voters and businesses confidence around economic management must be the immediate priority.”

08:30 Pound at eight-week low according to Reuters.

politics pound

Reuters Tweet

Source: Reuters / Twitter

07:46 BBC reports May is to stay and form government.


BBC May to stay Tweet

07:31 CBI tells politicians to ‘get their house in order’.

Director general Carolyn Fairbairn says: “This is a serious moment for the UK economy. The priority must be for politicians to get their house in order and form a functioning government, reassure the markets and protect our resilient economy.

07:18 Conservative leaning newspaper The Daily Telegraph reports the odds of anti-Heathrow expansion MP Boris Johnson becoming prime minister have been slashed.


Telegraph screen grab

07:16 What next for Theresa May? BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg says Tory MPs are divided.

bbc tweet

BBC Tweet

07:09 Richmond Park just in. Anti-Heathrow expansion campaigner Tory candidate Zac Goldsmith wins by just 45 votes, gaining 28,588 votes in total.

07:05 Results in seats which cover key infrastructure projects are emerging.

Around Heathrow, which is gearing up to deliver a third runway, Liberal Democrat Vince Cable won the Twickenham seat back after losing it to the Conservatives in 2015, with 53% of the vote.

Boris Johnson, who is against the airport’s expansion, held his Uxbridge and Ruislip South seat with 50.8% of the vote.

A re-count is being held in Richmond Park where Conservative candidate Zac Goldsmith previously quit the seat in protest over the Heathrow plans.

Anti-High Speed 2 campaigner Cheryl Gillan retained her Chesham & Amersham seat with 33,514 votes. Fellow MP Bill Cash, fighting for the Stone constituency in Staffordshire, also held his seat with 63.2% of the vote.

07:00 Good Morning.

Let’s see how some of the MPs who have been working with the civil engineering profession have done overnight.

Former transport secretary Chris Grayling has held on to his Epsom and Ewell seat with 35,313 votes, winning a +1.3% increase share of the vote.

Former transport minister Andrew Jones has held on the Harrogate & Knaresborough with 31,477 votes, with a 2.7% increase in the vote, compared to 2015.

The secretary of state for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy until a few weeks ago, Greg Clark held on to his Tunbridge Wells seat with 30,856, with a 1.8% decrease in votes.

Scottish National Party and Scotland’s transport minister Humza Yousaf held his Glasgow Pollok seat, increasing his share of the vote by 10%.

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