Week commencing 3 December 2018

In today's bulletin

• Baby Boomers need help to downsize
• Parental property wealth increases likelihood of home ownership

• Rail sector deal launched
• Environment to be placed at the heart of new developments

Property, Planning and Regeneration

Baby Boomers need help to downsize

The UK needs to deliver significantly more homes purpose-built to support the country’s ageing population, research by Policy Exchange has claimed. In its report Building for the Baby Boomers, released on 3 December, the think tank urges the Government to make older people’s market choice a key pillar of its housing strategy.
. As well as helping them to live healthily and independently for longer, it concludes that encouraging the elderly to downsize would also release more large homes needed for younger families.

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Parental property wealth increases likelihood of home ownership

There is an increasingly strong connection between the financial resources of parents and the likelihood that their children will become homeowners, new research by the Resolution Foundation suggests.
Published on 4 December, House of the rising son (or daughter): The impact of parental wealth on their children’s home ownership found that, from the mid-2000s, those with parental property wealth were almost three times as likely to be homeowners as those without. It called for attention to be paid to the inequalities brought about by this connection, highlighting that the housing prospects of young people are increasingly tied to their parents’ wealth.

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House prices continue to slow

Annual house price growth has slowed to its lowest rate since December 2012, down from the 1.5 per cent annual growth recorded in October to 0.3 per cent in November, according to Halifax’s House Price Index.
House prices declined by 1.4 per cent in November, meaning that prices have fallen in three out of the last four months, but increased when compared to the same period in 2017. The average UK home now costs £224,578.

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Solid expansion of construction output in November

Construction growth in the UK reached an unexpected four-month high in November. The IHS Markit/CIPS UK Construction purchasing managers’ index (PMI) rose to 53.4 in November, above the predicted reading of 52.5 and the crucial 50.0 mark, which indicates growth.
Released on 4 December, the data also indicated that job creation in the sector accelerated at the fastest pace since December 2015 and residential building reclaimed its position as the fastest growing area of construction.

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Rail sector deal launched

The Government’s new rail sector deal was launched on 6 December, aiming to support the railway’s strategic and economic role and promote a more focused, efficient and productive rail supply chain.
The deal also seeks to provide a more positive experience for passengers and freight users, by driving greater capacity and increasing the services available to passengers. The Government says digital technology is at the heart of the deal, with new digital signalling and traffic management systems fundamental to resolving current capacity issues.

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Rail Review launches call for evidence

A call for evidence to support a review of the UK’s railways was launched by independent chairman, Keith Williams, on 6 December.
The former chairman and chief executive of British Airways has been tasked with setting out a roadmap to make the rail system work better for passengers, train companies, freight customers and operators, and those responsible for managing and maintaining the network. The consultation runs until 18 January 2019 and will feed into recommendations for a white paper due in Autumn 2019.

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Sector deal to help aerospace industry take flight

Electric and autonomous aircraft development is to be boosted with a new £250m investment in the sector, the business secretary, the Rt Hon Greg Clark MP, announced on 6 December. Government funding worth £125m will be matched by industry investment to develop projects including service drones and electrical aircraft capable of vertical take-off.
The aerospace sector deal also includes a £15m Government investment in GKN Aerospace’s new technology centre in Bristol and a pledge to increase the number of women working in aviation. Read more

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Wheels come off rural bus services

Rural bus services are in danger of disappearing and need central government funding to ensure their survival, according to a report by the Campaign for Better Transport. The Future of Rural Bus Services in the UK says rising costs of bus operations, increasing fares, increased car ownership and reductions in government spending have all contributed to reduced services for rural areas.
The report, released on 5 December, calls for rural communities and local authorities to be given greater financial support for public transport, and recommends that new technologies and better incentives for private sector operators are adopted.

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Energy and Environment

Environment to be placed at the heart of new developments

Developers could be required to achieve ‘biodiversity net gain’ in future under a proposed mandatory framework proposed by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. The proposals, which were published for consultation on 2 December, set out a series of rules for developers when delivering new housing or commercial development.
The new plans would create a standardised approach to sustainability in new developments and form part of the Government’s aim to embed the wider principle of environmental net gain and show how profitable development can drive environmental improvement.

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Household leftovers to make eco-friendly packaging

Food scraps, wood chippings and waste sugar beet could soon be used to make environmentally friendly food packaging, as the Government commits £60m to a new scheme aiming to reduce single-use plastics.
The funding, announced on 5 December, will be used to help start-ups in the bioeconomy sector develop smart sustainable plastic packaging and will be delivered by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.

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Other News

Local Industrial Strategies announced

The Government has announced plans to develop Local Industrial Strategies to drive growth across the country. Based on consultation with businesses, public partners and civil society, the strategies will be led by Mayoral Combined Authorities or Local Enterprise Partnerships.
41 strategies have been announced, each aiming to coordinate local economic policy with national funding streams, and establish better working between national and local government, as well as the public and private sectors.

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£1.3 billion public-private sector investment announced for UK’s life sciences sector

The second Life Sciences Sector Deal launched on 5 December with a £1.3 billion investment in the UK’s life sciences industry.
The deal, which includes industry investment from 10 companies, will aim to support healthcare innovation through renewed investment in artificial intelligence, while encouraging businesses to create high-paid, high-quality jobs.

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UK exports on the rise

There has been a 1.5 per cent rise in the number of businesses exporting goods form the UK – with that figure hitting 110,000 in the third quarter of 2018.
New figures released by HMRC show that exports from England were worth £247.6 billion in the year ending September 2018, while those from Scotland increased 6.2 per cent to £29.6 billion in the same period. Businesses took an increasingly global outlook, with almost 50,000 of them exporting to non-EU destinations.

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