Skip to navigation | Skip to main content | Skip to footer

What will we see from a new Labour government?

Thoughts from academics across AMBS on the potential impact of the new government.

Alliance Manchester Business School academics and senior colleagues share their views on how the Labour Party's election victory is likely to impact infrastructure projects, housebuilding, the high street and the future of education, and the changes they'd like to see.

Ken McPhail

Ken McPhail, Head of Alliance Manchester Business School

The incoming government will need to stimulate economic growth and reduce the regional productivity gap. Both are equally important. Enabling innovative businesses to thrive in the North West will require a focus on four things:


We need better infrastructure of every kind, not just public transport, which is essential, but universal basic infrastructure that includes things like access to broadband, health services, financial services and education. This combination of physical and social infrastructure rooted in places will be the first step towards an enabling environment for innovative business growth.

Industrial strategy

The North West needs more autonomy to implement an effective industrial strategy that aligns sectors, research and development, and skills. The strategy needs to designed and driven through a collaboration between strong public and private institutions like the GMCA, Universities and big private sector employers. This will require devolved resources and powers from Whitehall to deliver it over the longer term.

Education and skills

We need to address the skills mismatch. There will need to be a shift in the focus of education policy to incorporate a clearer understanding of the demand side and the kinds of workforce employers are looking for. In order to deliver this change, we will need to address the long-term underinvestment in UK higher education.

Capital investment

The 2008 financial crisis resulted in a capital flight to London where confidence quickly returned. By contrast UK regions quickly slipped into junk bond territory and never recovered. We need to address the acute lack of capital availability, the cost of capital, and its impact on regional economies.

Stuart Wells

Stuart Wells, Managing Director for Executive Education

"The Labour Party's proposed expansion of the Apprenticeship Levy into a 'Growth and Skills' Levy is a transformative step towards increasing the flexibility of funding for professional development in England.

"This policy would allow organisations to use up to 50% of their levy contributions for non-apprenticeship training, aligning England's training subsidy approach with that of other UK regions and comparable countries.

"As a business school which aims to foster lifelong learning, we're pleased that this will benefit aspiring managers and leaders at a more advanced stage of their career. It gives them the opportunity to enhance their capabilities, driving innovation and efficiency within their organisations.

"This initiative not only bolsters individual career development, but also addresses the broader economic and productivity challenges by fostering a skilled and adaptable workforce. By lowering the barriers to advanced training, this policy has the potential to significantly contribute to education advancement and economic growth through accessible and impactful learning opportunities."

Nuno Gil

Nuno Gil, Professor of New Infrastructure Development

"It's becoming increasingly clear that there are systemic barriers to delivery of large infrastructure projects in the UK. This is hampering economic growth while exacerbating social inequalities and leaving the country more vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.

"The incoming Labour government has acknowledged this, with a pledge to review the planning system and greenbelt rules grabbing headlines during the election campaign. However, planning reforms are likely to achieve little - assuming that it can even be done at all - without wider policy reform. The challenge comes in reconciling often mutually exclusive interests - from the electorate's legitimate concerns about the need for democratic decision-making, to need for capital commitment in infrastructure projects that create social value while mitigating environmental harms, to the pursuit of conventional financial returns. Ultimately, we want to be able to have our cake and eat it.

"The UK is in a particular bad spot with infrastructure delivery because of two central assumptions in the Treasury Green Book; firstly, a narrow definition of value for money that leans too heavily on the willingness to pay of the user population, and secondly, the idea that cost growth is rooted in optimism bias and incompetence.

"Both approaches are responsible for a massive deficit of trust between big projects and the electorate. This is why planning reforms alone will achieve little unless they are accompanied with meaningful change on how Treasury and watchdogs such as the Infrastructure and Projects Authority define mega project value creation and performance.

"The new government needs to unencumber large projects of the traditional 'on time, on budget, fixed scope' delivery performance measurements and commit to widening their purpose from the onset beyond the pursuit of conventional financial goals in alignment with UN Sustainable Development Goals. Without this, I can't see how debacles such as the botched delivery of HS2 can be avoided."

Heiner Evanschitzky

Heiner Evanschitzky, Professor of Marketing

"Given the retail sector's economic and social importance - contributing 5% of GDP, 10% of business taxes and offering over 3 million jobs - it is encouraging to see the new government signal its intent to breathe life into Britain's high streets.

"Specifically, we welcome any efforts to introduce a new business rates regime. What 'new' looks like is not yet clear, but any effective system must consider the systematic disadvantage of physical stores compared with online retailing. If the new system fails to create a level playing field, high streets will continue to decline.

"Success will also require us to explore how we can make high street shops more enjoyable spaces to visit. Our research has shown time and again that shopping is more than purchasing products; it can and should be an inspiring experience. A quick win would be to update planning restrictions to allow the flexible usage of unused space, helping to replace boarded up storefronts with pop-up stores, event spaces and hospitality offerings."

Suzanne Peters

Dr Suzanne Peters, Research Associate in Innovation Management and Policy

"The incoming government has made clear it's intent to prioritise boosting housing development, notably with the reintroduction of building targets. However, such commitments need to be substantiated with the means to reach them, and it's becoming increasingly clear that we cannot rely solely on traditional methods.

"Most homes are built using traditional onsite methods that are highly manual, susceptible to weather and energy inefficient, with only 6% of new builds certified EPC A. On the other hand, modular homes can help address these issues, and have been raised as an important part of a solution - but this is not a new idea.

"The country's modular housing firms have been poised to speed delivery of quality, EPC A rated homes manufactured offsite, using more advanced methods, available labour and less waste - and yet many could not fill their order books and have struggled to survive. Rectifying this will need a coherent strategy and set of measurable objectives to boost skills and reduce risk for developers - simple steps that could supercharge development."