Senior figures in the UK construction industry have welcomed the news that Theresa May, former UK home secretary, will become the new prime minister tomorrow following yesterday’s shock withdrawal of her rival, Andrea Leadsom, from the Conservative Party leadership race.
The country had been bracing for a two-month-long leadership contest between May and Leadsom following the resignation of Prime Minister David Cameron after the national vote to leave the European Union on 23 June.
But Leadsom’s sudden pull-out brought the contest to an end and, by the close of the day, May had been proclaimed party leader.
The sooner we have some semblance of stability the better. That way we can get back to focusing on building the homes our country needs, developing home-grown talent and doing this while securing the best value for taxpayers’ money– Simon Girling, Federation of Builders
As reasons for her withdrawal Leadsom cited the need for a swift resolution to political uncertainty, and her rival’s larger support base among MPs.
May only launched her leadership bid yesterday morning, and in a speech in Birmingham prioritised a more productive economy, with emphases on infrastructure, house building and energy, all of which which may bode well for construction.
Among her pledges were "more Treasury-backed project bonds for new infrastructure projects" and "an energy policy that emphasises reliability of supply and lower costs for users".
But so far it is the prospect of a swift resolution to the uncertainty gripping the country that industry has welcomed most.
"A priority for UK industry is a stable government and economy," said Alasdair Reisner, chief executive of the Civil Engineering Contractors Association, according to GCR’s sister title, Construction Manager. "As such, Theresa May’s … appointment as prime minister is welcome as it provides certainty instead of indecision during a long leadership election.
"It is now time for the government to get back to the day job of running the country, investing in the growth that will protect the economy from the headwinds that have risen since the referendum. There are major decisions to be made now on large infrastructure projects – it is time for our new prime minister to show that the UK is open for business again."
His views were echoed by Simon Girling, national chair of the National Federation of Builders.
"The sooner we have some semblance of stability the better," he said. "That way we can get back to focusing on building the homes our country needs, developing home-grown talent and doing this while securing the best value for taxpayers’ money."
To learn more about Theresa May’s views on infrastructure, housing, and other topics such as boardroom pay, read the report here.
Image: Theresa May, UK Prime Minister from 13 July, 2016, has emphasised infrastructure, energy and house building. She was photographed here in 2007 (Andrew Burdett/Wikimedia Commons)