Tom Reynolds – What needs to happen after the election dust settles

InsightFeatures Mon 24th Jun 2024 by KBBFocus

Tom Reynolds – What needs to happen after the election dust settles

Tom Reynolds – What needs to happen after the election dust settles

The Conservatives are warning of a Labour ‘supermajority’ at the General Election – BMA chief executive Tom Reynolds casts an eye over what this means and the campaigning so far.

When the General Election was called, I penned an article examining what our industry needs after the polls close. I mapped out what the next Government needs to urgently tackle to deliver a big difference for the bathroom sector, but I now want to focus on who we’re likely to be dealing with in the corridors of power to make our demands a reality.

No, I’m not going against what the polls say – it’s likely to be a Labour victory. The forecast has been too consistently in their favour (by some considerable margin) for me to doubt the outcome. An interesting argument from the Conservatives, however, has emerged. There is a growing rhetoric not to allow a Labour 'supermajority', warning that this would give Labour 'unchecked power'. Whether this will make any difference to how people intend to vote is anyone’s guess, but Reform UK has gained ground against the Conservatives and this could mean even fewer Conservative MPs in parliament.

We have all the party manifestos, all the promises and pledges to address the country’s priorities, and the inevitable claims, counterclaims, arguments and mudslinging to woo voters one way or another. Manifestos are optimistic, but the country faces significant challenges, from creaking public services to stagnating economic growth, and the next Government will need to hit the ground running to ever hope to address the country's urgent needs.

The headline-grabbing topics are tax, the NHS, immigration, the economy, spending pledges, and some bizarre campaign stunts. In all honesty, I wouldn’t expect anything else, but I was hoping for a little more focus on water policy. The Liberal Democrats are the only party highlighting the issue of sewage in our waterways, and it's the Greens carrying the banner for borrowing and tax rises to address historic underinvestment in the infrastructure that protects the environment.

It now seems unlikely that Labour won’t win the prize of governing. However, how will they govern? Moreover, what will the shape of the opposition be? Will Reform UK’s vote share translate into seats (my gut feeling says not a great many)? Will the Lib Dems and Greens be able to use the growth in their parliamentary parties to shine a spotlight on the environment and water specifically? Will the rump of the Conservative party tack left or right? These questions and results matter because they will determine the influence and strategies of organisations like the BMA.

As a trade association, we must engage with and lobby ministers and officials on behalf of our members. We’ve made good headway recently, and our focus will be on continuing to improve our influence in a host of topic areas, including regulations, compliance, water efficiency, and net-zero ambitions.

Our Tap into Tomorrow document acts as a blueprint for the next Government to adopt, and it’s our job to ensure it’s embraced. 

Tags: insight, features, tom reynolds, general election 2024, bathrooms

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