Week commencing 30 July 2018

In today's bulletin

• New report calls for shift in housing policy

• Fixed rate mortgages limits impact of rate rise

• Review urged after roads melt in summer heatwave

• Radioactive waste disposal framework allows consideration of national parks

Property, Planning and Regeneration

New report calls for shift in housing policy

A report released last week has called on the government to rethink housing policy to ensure “everyone at all stages of their life has access to a good home”.
The report, from the Housing & Finance Institute and housing association Radian, proposes a dramatic expansion of social rented homes and home ownership.

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Fixed rate mortgages limits impact of rate rise

The immediate impact of last week’s interest rate rise on mortgaged households will be “limited”, according to Savills, with 60 per cent of homeowners on a fixed rate.
The opinion piece notes that the market has been anticipating a rise in base rates, with over 90 per cent of new loans in the first quarter of the year on a fixed rate

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House price growth rises slightly in July

House price growth rose to 2.5 per cent, according to Nationwide’s latest house price index, a 0.6 per cent month-on-month rise.
The report also predicted that any impact of raising interest rates from 0.5 to 0.75 per cent would be “modest”.

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Rental rise in retail parks

The latest Savills report into the commercial market shows that while house prices are falling, and the high streets are struggling, the UK’s out of town retail and leisure parks are growing and reported strong figures in June.

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Rents rise above wages in middle England

Between 2011 and 2017 the cost of renting accommodation in England has risen 60 per cent faster than the average wage.
Rents rose 16 per cent in the period while wages only increased by 10 per cent, research of government figures by housing charity Shelter has found.

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House building growing at quickest rate since 2015

UK construction saw its fastest rise in output since May 2017 last month, thanks to the quickest rise in residential work for just over two-and-a-half years, the latest IHS Markit / CIPS UK Construction Purchasing Managers Index shows.

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London plan needed to fix London’s housing needs, housing secretary

James Brokenshire MP, the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government has welcomed the proposed increase of London’s housing target from 42,000 to 65,000 homes a year.
However, in a letter to the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, he also said more needs to be set out in the draft London plan to bring it in line with the National Policy Framework.

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Review urged after roads melt in summer heatwave

The Government should review the ability of councils to make sure local roads can endure sustained heatwaves like the one the UK’s experiencing this summer which has seen some roads melt due to the heat, the House of Commons’ Environmental Audit Committee has recommended in its new report ‘Heatwaves: adapting to climate change’.

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Oxbridge rail plans move step closer

Network Rail has submitted its final proposal for East West Rail phase two, which is part of the ultimate plan to enable rail passengers to travel directly between Oxford and Cambridge.
The second phase, which has just been submitted for the section between Bicester and Bedford, will use ‘mothballed’ tracks and allow passengers to travel directly from Oxford to Bedford for the first time in 50 years.

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New mobility plans could change how people and goods move around

The Government has started work on the Future of Mobility Grand Challenge, with the aim to reduce transport emissions
It outlines how new technologies could be introduced to improve the transport industry, with proposals including replacing vans with electric cargo bikes, vans, quadricycles and micro vehicles in UK cities to transform short deliveries.

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Energy and environment

Radioactive waste disposal framework allows consideration of national parks

The Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee published a report on the Government’s draft National Policy Statement (NPS) for Geological Disposal Infrastructure (GDI), which will be used to develop consent orders for facilities that host radioactive waste that cannot be stored at existing surface facilities.
The report chose not to exclude national parks from consideration when locating GDI, deeming that such areas are sufficiently protected by existing legislation and the NPS.

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UK energy production growing, consumption lower and emissions decreasing

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has published the latest Digest of UK Energy Statistics (DUKES), providing detailed statistical insights into the UK’s energy production, transformation and consumption in 2017.
Key findings included records for renewable and low carbon electricity generation, although the UK still remains a net importer of energy.

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Other News

Solutions to adult social care funding sought

Tax rises, extra charges and means testing benefits are among the options for solving the problem of adult social care funding, according to the Local Government Association.

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Manufacturing growth drops as pace of new orders slows

Figures from IHS Markit show that July had the weakest rate of manufacturing growth in 16 months.
The UK domestic market dropped, while export work increased at the highest rate since January.

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