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General Election Reactions | Jo Henney, Nugent, Sean Keyes, Sutcliffe, Simon Harris, Avrenim and Jen Fenner, DefProc.

In light of yesterday’s news about the General Election, Jo Henney, CEO at Nugent, Sean Keyes, CEO of Sutcliffe, Simon Harris, CEO of Avrenim and Jen Fenner, co-founder and MD of DefProc have shared their thoughts with Downtown in Business.

Jo Henney, CEO of Nugent:  

“The upcoming general election represents a critical moment for our sector. It is an opportunity for all of us to advocate for policies that promote social justice, equity, and the well-being of the most vulnerable members of our society. At Nugent, we are committed to working with policymakers and the community to ensure that the voices of those we serve are heard and that their needs are prioritised. Together, we can strive for a brighter, more inclusive future.”

Sean Keyes, CEO of Sutcliffe: 

Sean Keyes

“There are three main pillars that impact us as a business: the economy, housing and the NHS – issues that also resonate with voters. In terms of the economy, all businesses desire low inflation, financial stability, global stability and a good, solid economy that is growing steadily.  There’s no denying that the economy is currently stronger and more stable than it has been in years. However,we would like to see a more even distribution of government spending in the North.  

“The NHS has suffered from poor management, planning and chronic underfunding for quite some time, placing immense stress on its services, even though in the last 20 years we have spent 40% more in real terms on patient care. Society wants more from its NHS and we as a country have to accept that this probably needs additional funding through taxation. From a construction perspective, both parties must invest more in the bricks and mortar of our hospitals and making them fit for the future, because currently more needs to be spent on modernising its infrastructure so our hospitals meet public expectations. 

“Lastly, both parties have pledged to build 300,000 houses per year. It’s vital that we hold the incoming government accountable for this promise. This requires secure funding for social housing, and an improved planning process, as typically permissions currently take between 12 months and 2 years instead of the ideal 3 months, causing lengthy delays. In short, we need more housing as a decade of insufficient construction has left the UK over 1 million homes short. This housing shortage directly impacts quality of life, education standards and health standards, which need to be addressed in this upcoming election and indirectly this will ease the pressure of another major political hot potato which is immigration.”  

Simon Harris, CEO of Avrenim:

Simon Harris

 “The upcoming general election is a critical movement in shaping the country’s future. Decarbonising the NHS estate and investing in renewable energy sources for large infrastructure will be central topics that will dominate the national debate over the next 6 weeks. For the facilities management sector, which makes up 3% of GDP, this period could be monumental. Political parties will now debate whether prioritising sustainability can be a winning strategy. I believe it can be. I think that the FM sector can significantly benefit the broader economy, especially as the incoming government is expected to prioritise the construction of new hospitals and large estates, while also investing in the upkeep of older buildings.” 

Jen Fenner, co-founder and MD of DefProc:

Jen Fenner

“The upcoming General Election will test the potential incoming government. Industry faces a significant skills gap that cannot be solved quickly. The existing Skilled Worker visa requirement, which mandates a minimum salary of £38,700, makes it challenging for businesses to hire suitable candidates. I’m hoping that a party will address this issue, which remains a significant concern for industry leaders.

“Additionally, there are reservations about Labour’s Great British Energy initiative. The private sector has already invested heavily in green energy, including alternatives like hydrogen. It is not clear how this new initiative will fit with ongoing efforts. With carbon-neutral targets set for 2030, starting a new large-scale project like GB Energy will likely slow down current progress. The incoming government should focus on accelerating existing renewable energy projects to meet these targets, as the UK has been lagging behind Europe due to delays by the current government.”

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