Election Manifestos 2019 - Side-by-Side Policy Comparisons: Infrastructure and environment

With all three of the main parties' election manifestos out in the public domain as of Sunday night, Madano has pulled together a side-by-side analysis of policy pledges across a number of key areas - infrastructure and business tax, energy, environment, transport, heating and R&D.

So, before we all get ready to shout at the telly when Question Time is broadcast on Thursday, let's look at how the policies compare:

Infrastructure and Business Policies

Madano Analysis - On infrastructure and Government investment, Labour’s manifesto is far more ambitious than either the Conservatives or Liberal Democrats – promising more than double the spend of the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats combined. If implemented, one of the biggest challenges would be finding enough credible proposals to spend the money on.

Energy

Madano Analysis - On energy, the parties agree on what needs to be done, but couldn’t be further apart on how to do it. All three parties are committed to investing in technologies needed to enable the low carbon transition, such as CCS and hydrogen, and are broadly positive about nuclear and hostile to fracking. There is a clear philosophical difference in how to deliver this however. The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats would leave the current structure of the energy sector in place in order to deliver the low carbon transition, but Labour believes a sweeping renationalization programme is needed to make this a reality.

Environmental Policies

Madano Analysis - All three parties are keen to be seen as environmentally-friendly as seen by the fact all of them have made ambitious tree-planting and environmental restoration commitments. Labour and the Liberal Democrats also push to make environmental sustainability more important to investors and companies, in the hope that this could help drive change, though the Conservatives stop short of this.

transport policies

Madano Analysis - Singing from the same sheet, the main parties all agree on the need to accelerate the roll-out of electric vehicle charging infrastructure and passing legislation to set air quality targets. For the Conservatives, the commitment to air quality legislation is a significant shift from the previous manifesto, and is a clear example of their determination to avoid being outflanked on the environment, as it rises up the public’s agenda.

heating policies

Madano Analysis - On heating, while the main parties agree on the direction of travel, Labour and the Liberal Democrats’ proposals are more ambitious. Critically, both those parties plans go beyond energy efficiency measures and include support for the roll-out of heat pumps, a process which is likely to be very challenging for any future government.

RandD policy

Madano Analysis - To deliver a low carbon economy, significant R&D will be a prerequisite, and all three parties make ambitious commitments to expand total R&D spending. Labour and the Liberal Democrats both commit to a 3% of GDP target, while the Conservatives back the more immediately deliverable target of 2.4%. But the most significant difference might be the Conservatives’ proposal to create an ARPA-style agency to fund high-risk, high-payoff research.

Click here for the side-by-side comparisons for the NHS and healthcare.