Week commencing 2 July 2018

In today's bulletin

• Government announces new housing policies
• Record £4.1 billion spend on railway improvement

• Households urged to help tackle waste crime
• Homes England announces new development opportunities

Property, Planning and Regeneration

Government announces new housing policies

On Monday (2 July) Housing Secretary James Brokenshire announced a series of new government housing policies in a speech to Policy Exchange.
These included a new community housing fund, the proposal of a minimum three-year tenancy term and the release of £450 million to speed up housing delivery on public sector land.

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Homes England confirms housing association deals

Homes England announced new deals with eight housing associations on Tuesday (3 July), with the first wave of building expected to include close to 15,000 affordable homes.
The strategic partnerships have been announced following an increase in funding for the government’s affordable homes programme

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Homes England announces new development opportunities

Homes England has announced 250 hectares of new development opportunities, which it intends to bring to market over the next year.
The sites are detailed in the latest Land Development and Disposal Plan, which was published on Wednesday (4 July).

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Sector deal means dawn of a digital age for construction industry

A new Construction Sector Deal launched by the Department for International Trade and the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy was announced on 5 July.
The new Sector Deal, worth £420 million, sets out how embracing technological advancements and innovations in construction will increase productivity and outputs across the industry. The deal comes as part of the UK government’s plans to deliver 1.5 million homes by 2022 by embracing digital design and offsite manufacturing.

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Stop landlords evicting tenants without reason

On 5 July the London Assembly agreed a motion calling on the Mayor to back a campaign to protect tenants from no-fault eviction.
The motion calls for an end to Section 21 of the Housing Act 1998, which gives private landlords the right to evict tenants without any reason.

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Transport

Live bus-tracking to be introduced

Nusrat Ghani, the buses minister, has launched a consultation on legally requiring bus drivers to share data, allowing users in England to get live updates on bus routes, timetables and fares at their fingertips.
Mr Ghani has claimed the change could eliminate the old adage of two buses turning up at the same time.

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Network Rail need to do more for £34 billion plan, say ORR

The Office of Rail and Road (ORR) has called on Network Rail to do more to prepare for its £34 billion five-year plan for Britain’s railways, which is set to start on 1 April 2019.
The ORR found in its annual assessment of Network Rail’s performance in England and Wales that it is doing well in terms of safety and network reliability has improved.

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Record £4.1 billion spend on railway improvement

Network Rail has spent a record £4.1 billion on railway improvements in the past financial year, as it tries to meet its aim of providing an extra 170,000 seats into major cities per day, with an extra 6,400 trains services by 2019.
The organisation’s annual report also revealed that profits plummeted from £483 million in the last financial year to £48 million this year, which has been attributed to the cost of maintaining ageing infrastructure, in addition to borrowing costs.

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Electric vehicle charging infrastructure needs support to boost take up

National Grid has said that the electric vehicle (EV) charging market is ‘unlikely to deliver’ the charging infrastructure required to be able to support the predicted number of electric vehicles in the future.
Belinda Littleton, National Grid’s strategy and corporate development lead, said that a gap in the market had emerged for super and ultra fast charging infrastructure.

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Energy and environment

Households urged to help tackle waste crime

Over a third of illegally dumped waste is from households, according to the Environment Agency.
A recent change in the law means that householders found to be knowingly involved in the illegal dumping of waste could be liable for Landfill Tax or prosecuted alongside the actual illegal operators.

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EDF sells minority stake in wind portfolio to pursue other renewable projects

EDF Renewables has sold a minority stake in a portfolio of 24 of its UK wind farms for £701 million to pursue more renewable development.
The new partnership with Dalmore Capital Limited and Pensions Infrastructure Platform, with investment from UK local authority pension schemes, will enable EDF to continue to develop further renewable energy projects.

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Use water resources wisely, urges Environment Agency

To help manage demand and reduce the impact on the environment, the Environment Agency has urged people to follow water company advice to use water wisely during the hotter summer months. .

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Shell supports calls for the UK to bring forward petrol ban

Shell has announced its support for the UK to bring forward its 2040 ban on new petrol and diesel car sales.
Speaking about the ban, chief executive Ben van Beurden said bringing it forward would provide clarity and make it easier for companies like Shell to make investment decisions and shift consumer attitudes.

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Other News

Poor post-Brexit clarity causing significant slowdown in investment for UK businesses

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has published a list of UK businesses’ top real-world questions about Brexit. The BCC said the government has so far made limited progress on only two of 24 issues where a lack of clarity is preventing firms from planning their trade after the UK’s departure from the EU.
According to the BCC, uncertainty around issues such as tariffs, customs procedures, VAT arrangements, regulation standards, staff mobility and UK participation in EU research and development projects continue to undermine businesses’ investment and confidence.

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SMEs’ growth impeded by credit ‘apathy’

A survey of over 1,100 UK businesses conducted by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) and specialist finance provider, Wesleyan Bank, found that 56 per cent of businesses did not attempt to access finance over the last year.

Of those that did seek finance, conventional sources such as overdrafts, business loans and asset finance were most popular. The research, published on Wednesday 4 July, suggested that improving businesses’ access to finance would support investment by providing assistance to help cover upfront costs and taxes.

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Q1 GDP growth largely unchanged, despite slight upward revision

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has stated that it continues to expect the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee to announce a further rate rise in August. Despite the Office for National Statistics’ (ONS) revision of Q1 GDP growth to 0.2 per cent from 0.1 per cent, the period saw little change in spending and investment trends.
Further to this, official data for Q2 so far indicates a mixed picture for growth, leaving overall H1 2018 growth little changed from the weak outturns seen during 2017.

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