Week commencing 12 June 2017

In today's bulletin

• Alok Sharma appointed Minister for Housing and Planning
• NPPF diminishes councils’ ability to create affordable housing

• Strong job growth in rail industry promising for post-Brexit Britain
• Close energy plants to aid shift to renewables

Property, Planning and Regeneration

Alok Sharma appointed Minister for Housing and Planning

The new Minister of State for Housing and Planning has been revealed, with Alok Sharma replacing Gavin Barwell, former MP for Croydon Central who lost his seat at the recent general election. Mr Sharma spent 16 years in finance before entering politics in 2010, when he became MP for Reading
West, a constituency he has served ever since. His previous experience in government came at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, where he served as Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, until this latest appointment.

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NPPF diminishes councils’ ability to create affordable housing

The introduction of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) in 2012 has weakened the ability of local councils to secure affordable housing contributions from developers, according to a new report from the Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA). The study follows figures published by the TCPA in May 2017 which revealed that 98 per cent of councils describe
their need for affordable housing as either severe or moderate. Released on 13 June, and delivered in partnership with the Nationwide Foundation, an independent charity which aims to tackle social inequality, New models, partnerships and innovation is part of a series of reports by the TCPA entitled How can councils secure the delivery of more affordable homes?

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UK must seize chance to boost national infrastructure

The UK has a perfect opportunity to enter a “golden age” of infrastructure but must make the right choices to ensure it becomes a reality, the Director-General of the Chamber of British Industry (CBI) has argued. The organisation called for businesses and government to work together to deliver the
country’s housing needs, provide better transport infrastructure and boost Britain’s GDP. With Brexit negotiations beginning this week, the CBI also expressed its desire to see an immigration system which facilitates the delivery of this infrastructure.

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£316k boost to UK economy from each new home

Every new-build home in the UK can generate £316,000 for the economy, creating a ripple effect of financial benefits, a new report from design and consultancy group Arcadis claims. Building Homes – Making Places estimates that, for each new home built, £250,000 goes directly into the economy through job creation and taxes, £53,000 into businesses through direct into
spending, and £13,000 local communities through increased investment in local services. The report highlights the importance of investing in the housing sector in the face of economic uncertainty caused by the UK’s decision to leave the EU. Without adequate housing and inward investment, it warns, wealth and job creation will suffer.

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New data shows average UK house price rise

The average cost of a UK home has risen to £220,094, according to new figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) published on Tuesday 13 June. The latest UK House Price Index report has revealed a 5.6 per cent jump in national prices in the year to April 2017, representing £12,000 on the
average property, in spite of a relatively subdued housing market. At a regional level, the East of England (8.1 per cent) witnessed the largest price rise while the North East (0.6 per cent) saw the lowest growth.

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Transport

Strong job growth in rail industry promising for post-Brexit Britain

24,000 extra jobs have been created in the rail industry over the past two years, with a further 100,000 to come in the following decade, according to research commissioned by the Rail Delivery Group. Chris Burchell, chairman of the body representing train and freight operators and Network Rail, claimed that this shows the industry can provide strength and stability throughout
some turbulent times ahead. He further heralded the quality of the jobs the industry provides, citing wages and security as benefits of working in rail. Independent consultancy Oxera’s research illustrates that the combined contribution of rail and its supply chain to the UK economy totals £10.4bn.

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Energy and environment

Close energy plants to aid shift to renewables

Inefficient power plants should be shut down to generate demand for wind energy in established markets and realise the environmental, health and economic advantages renewable technology brings. The call comes from WindEurope, an organisation which establishes and promotes wind energy policies.
The organisation argues that the overcapacity of fossil fuel plants causes a lack of demand for new power and is a significant obstacle to wind power uptake. It has also called for a much faster and greater uptake of electric vehicles to help drive demand for wind power and improve its viability.

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