Out-Law Analysis 11 min. read

UK general election 2024: pledges relevant to infrastructure businesses

Ambitious plans to reform the planning system, scale up the delivery of new homes, and enable investment in the modern ‘green’ infrastructure the UK needs to decarbonise, run through the election manifestos published by the main UK political parties, in what is universal recognition that good quality infrastructure is the bedrock of any thriving economy.

Here, we take a closer look at the pledges relevant to the infrastructure sector.


Labour have said they would develop a long-term strategy for transport to ensure transport infrastructure can be delivered efficiently and on time.

In relation to rail, the party plans to bring the railways back into public ownership and introduce Great British Railways. On roads, they have pledged to fix an additional one million potholes across England in each year of the next parliament, funded by deferring the A27 bypass project. Labour have also said they would accelerate the roll out of electric vehicle charge points and restore the phase-out date of 2030 for the sale of new cars with internal combustion engines.

Read more of our analysis of the parties' 2024 manifesto pledges

The Conservatives have committed to delivering their plan for Northern Powerhouse Rail and also said they would invest £1.75 billion to fund the Midlands Rail Hub. Rail upgrades at Padeswood and the electrification of the North Wales Main Line would also be funded, while the party has further pledged to prioritise development of the Pencoed level crossing, progress work on the South Wales Main Line, and electrify the North Wales Main Line.

On roads, the Conservatives have said they would invest £8.3 billion to fill potholes and resurface roads. They also said they would scrap rules that stop local mayors investing in strategic roads, and that they would also alleviate pinch points on the A75 in Scotland.

The Conservatives have further committed to ensuring electric vehicle charging infrastructure is available nationwide, including rapid charging, and to delivering the zero-emission vehicle mandate to support manufacturers to safeguard skilled British job.

The Liberal Democrats have also pledged to deliver Northern Powerhouse Rail to connect cities across the north of England, but they have also said they would review the cancellation of the northern leg of HS2 to see if it can still be delivered. The party have also said they would establish a 10-year plan for rail electrification.

Like the other parties, the Liberal Democrats have also committed to rolling out more electric vehicle charge points, including residential on-street points and ultra-fast chargers at service stations. They added that they would support new charging points with an upgraded National Grid and increased local grid capacity.

The Liberal Democrats oppose the expansion of Heathrow, Gatwick, Luton, Stansted or London City airports and any new airport in the Thames Estuary. They said they would place a moratorium on net airport expansion until a national capacity and emissions management framework is in place.


Improving the planning regime is one of Labour’s central priorities. They have said they would set out new national policy statements and update national planning policy – including immediately updating the National Policy Planning Framework and restoring mandatory housing targets.

Labour said they would ensure that planning authorities have up-to-date local plans and reform and strengthen the presumption in favour of sustainable development. The party has further pledged to fund additional planning officers by increasing the rate of the stamp duty surcharge paid by non-UK residents, and they have committed to giving combined authorities new planning powers. Further reform to compulsory purchase compensation rules is also promised should Labour win the election.

The Conservatives have said they would reduce the cost of infrastructure by allowing quicker changes to consented projects, and they have pledged to change the law to prevent judicial reviews frustrating infrastructure delivery. The party have also said they would focus the role of statutory consultees in the planning system on improving projects through clearer objectives and they have ruled out the introduction of a new community right to appeal.

The Conservatives also remain committed to protecting green belt land from uncontrolled development, and they said they would also reform the planning system to deliver fast track permissions for the building of infrastructure on farms.

The Liberal Democrats have promised to ensure that all development has appropriate infrastructure, services and amenities in place. They said they would also expand the concept of neighbourhood planning across England.

The Liberals have further pledged to integrate infrastructure and public service delivery into the planning process and to properly fund local planning departments to improve planning outcomes. The party said they would also use financial incentives to encourage development of existing brownfield sites, while developers would also face a new ‘use-it-or-lose-it’ rule in respect of planning permission.

Developers’ biodiversity net gain obligations would also be strengthened under the Liberal Democrats – the party said they would ensure new developments result in significant net gain for biodiversity, with up to a 100% net gain for large developments. The party also back the concept of local nature recovery strategies to identify a new Wild Belt that supports nature recovery.

Green infrastructure

Labour have said they would introduce ‘golden rules’ to ensure that development benefits communities and nature and that they would prioritise the release of lower quality ‘grey belt’ land. Labour further pledged to implement Schedule 3 of the Flood and Water Management Act to require sustainable drainage systems in new developments.

The Conservatives said they would ensure any requirements to offset the impact of new infrastructure and homes on an area are proportionate. They said they would also maintain flooding funding to continue to protect homes, farms and businesses, and they have committed to invest £1.1 billion into the Green Industries Growth Accelerator to support British manufacturing capabilities.

The Liberal Democrats have said they would require the National Infrastructure Commission to take fully into account the environmental implications of all national infrastructure decisions. They have also committed to increase investment in green infrastructure, including renewable energy and zero-carbon transport, industry, and housing, and said they would give a clearer zero-carbon remit to the UK Infrastructure Bank.

Infrastructure strategy and finance

Labour have said they would develop a 10-year infrastructure strategy and create a new National Infrastructure and Service Transformation Authority – understood to be a combination or merger of the existing National Infrastructure Commission and the Infrastructure and Projects Authority. 

Labour’s plans to improve and speed up the planning process for nationally significant infrastructure projects is also relevant to infrastructure strategy and financing.

The Liberal Democrats said they would expand the British Business Bank so it could perform a more central role in the economy, to ensure that viable small and medium-sized businesses have access to capital.


Labour have promised to build 1.5 million new homes over the next parliament, with a ‘brownfield first’ approach to development. Central to Labour’s housing target is reform to the planning system.

The party have said it would also strengthen planning obligations to ensure new developments provide more affordable homes and that it would prioritise the building of new social rented homes. They would also make changes to the Affordable Homes Programme to ensure that it delivers more homes from existing funding.

Labour have further committed to enacting the package of Law Commission proposals on leasehold enfranchisement, right to manage and commonhold, ban new leasehold flats, ensure commonhold is the default tenure, and tackle ground rent charges. They said they would also work with the private sector to provide further private finance to accelerate home upgrades and low carbon heating, as well as accelerate the pace of cladding remediation.

The Conservatives said they would make permanent the increase to the threshold at which first-time buyers pay stamp duty – £425,000 from £300,000. A new ‘help to buy’ scheme would also be launched if the Conservatives were re-elected, while existing plans to cap ground rents at £250 in the case of leasehold property would also be completed, the Conservatives have said.

The Conservatives have also said they would renew the Affordable Homes Programme to deliver homes of all tenures; encourage local authorities to use the new infrastructure levy to deliver the GP surgeries, roads and other local infrastructure needed to support homes; and simplify the planning process to enable people to build or commission their own home and encourage the development of housing for older people.

The party have also committed to pass the Renters Reform Bill that fell during the pre-election parliamentary ‘wash up’ – including provisions to abolish Section 21 eviction notices and measures to enable landlords to evict tenants guilty of anti-social behaviour.

On cladding remediation, the Conservatives have said they would continue developer-funded remediation programmes for mid-and high-rise buildings.

The Liberal Democrats have pledged to ensure housing is not built in areas of high flood risk without adequate mitigation. They have also said they would facilitate and encourage the use of rural exception sites to expand rural housing.

A new ‘rent to own’ model has also been pledged by the Liberals for social housing, where rent payments made would give tenants an increasing stake in the property.

The party have further committed to providing local authorities with new powers to control and limit the number of second homes and short-term lets in their areas.


Labour have said they would end the link between access to ministers and an inside track for public contracts, as well as halve the amount of money the government spends on consultants.

The Conservatives have also pledged to halve the amount of taxpayers’ money spent on external consultants. The party have further committed to working with public sector organisations and companies benefitting from government contracts to ensure that procurement opportunities are focused on SMEs in their local economies where possible and practical.

The Liberal Democrats have said they would expand the market for climate-friendly products and services by applying higher criteria in public procurement policy.

Net zero

Labour have said they support the introduction of a carbon border adjustment mechanism (CBAM). They also plan to make Britain a “clean energy superpower” – including by creating a new publicly-owned company, Great British Energy, which would be backed by £8.3 billion of public funds over the next parliament to help it co-invest in leading energy technologies.

The Conservatives have said they would guarantee a vote in the next parliament on the next stage of the net zero pathway. They have also pledged to cut the cost of net zero for consumers by guaranteeing no new green levies or charges – including no road pricing schemes or frequent flyer levy. The party, however, does remain committed to delivering a net zero economy in the UK by 2050.

The Liberal Democrats have said they would set out a clear and stable roadmap to net zero; implement the proposed CBAM for high-emission products; provide more advice to companies on cutting emissions; and support the development of regional industrial clusters for zero-carbon innovation. The party have further pledged to increase the Industrial Energy Transformation Fund and to support carbon capture and storage and new low-carbon processes for cement and steel production.

Tax and other headline commitments

General business

Labour said they would introduce a new UK industrial strategy and re-establish an Industrial Strategy Council – the latter being a pledge also made by the Liberal Democrats, which said they would put the body on a statutory footing.

Labour have also pledged to publish a roadmap for business taxation for the next parliament and to create a new Regulatory Innovation Office to update regulation, speed up approval timelines, and co-ordinate issues that span existing boundaries.

The Conservatives said they would promote digital invoicing and improve enforcement of the Prompt Payment Code.

Corporation tax

Labour have pledged to cap corporation tax at the current level of 25%. The Conservatives have said they would not increase corporation tax either. The Liberal Democrats have said that they would make the case for increasing the global minimum rate of corporation tax to 21%.


Labour have pledged no increase to VAT. The Conservatives said they would keep the VAT threshold under review. The Liberal Democrats said they would cut the VAT rate applicable to public charging of electric vehicles to 5%.

Income tax and National Insurance

Labour have said that they would not impose increases to National Insurance or the basic, higher or additional rates of income tax. The Conservatives have pledged to abolish the main rate of National Insurance entirely by the end of the next parliament. The Liberal Democrats said they would raise the tax-free personal allowance, which applies before income tax is levied, when public finances allow.

Business rates

Labour have said they will replace the business rates system. They have also pledged to end the VAT exemption and business rates relief for private schools.

The Conservatives have promised to enable councils to retain all business rates growth within a defined zone for 25 years. They have also pledged to increase the multiplier on distribution warehouses that support online shopping over time.

The Liberal Democrats have said they would abolish business rates and replace them with a commercial landowner levy.

Tax reliefs

Labour have promised to retain a permanent full expensing system for capital investment and the annual investment allowance for small business.

The Conservatives have said they would lift the employee threshold, allowing more companies to be considered medium-sized and benefit from associated tax reliefs. In line with an announcement set out by chancellor Jeremy Hunt in his March Budget, the Conservatives have also committed to extending the ‘full expensing’ policy to leased assets.

The Liberal Democrats have pledged to expand rural fuel duty relief.

Other tax pledges

Labour have said that they would abolish the non-domiciled tax status, if elected to government.

The Conservatives have said they would not impose any increase to the rate of capital gains tax.

The Liberal Democrats have pledged to reform capital gains tax, increase the UK’s digital services tax rate from 2% to 6%, and restore the bank surcharge and bank levy revenues to 2016 levels in real terms.

Employment, skills and immigration

Labour have pledged to establish a youth guarantee, where all 18- to 21-year-olds would be given access to training, an apprenticeship, or support to find work,

Labour said they would also implement what they term a new deal for working people, in full. This, they said, would include banning zero hours contracts; ending fire and rehire; and ensuring workers have basic rights to parental leave, sick pay, and protection from unfair dismissal, from ‘day one’ in a job.

Labour have also said it will establish a flexible growth and skills levy, change the remit of the independent Low Pay Commission, and reform the points-based immigration system.

The Conservatives have pledged to create 100,000 more apprenticeships in England every year by the end of the next parliament.

They have also committed to maintain the national living wage in each year of the next parliament at two-thirds of median earning.

The Liberal Democrats have said that they would establish a new Worker Protection Enforcement Authority. They also said they would fix the work visa system and exempt NHS and care staff from the immigration skills charge.

Their other plans include to improve the quality of vocational education, including skills for entrepreneurship and self-employment; replace the apprenticeship levy with a broader skills and training levy; and create new lifelong skills grants for adults to spend on education and training throughout their lives.

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