Week commencing 14 October 2019

In today's bulletin

• First-time buyers at twelve-year high
• Clarity on funding needed to achieve net-zero economy

• Government introduces new Environment Bill
• Chancellor’s budget set for 6 November

Property, Planning and Regeneration

First-time buyer numbers reach twelve-year high

The Government has used the latest mortgage figures from UK Finance to justify its focus on homeownership. The figures published on 15 October showed that 35,010 first-time buyers secured a mortgage in August – only 60 short of the previous peak in August 2007.
Responding to the figures, Housing Minister the Rt Hon Esther McVey MP said the Government was “determined to open up the dream of homeownership”.

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The green factor

Latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed that green space can increase the value of a property by an average of £2,500. Published on 14 October, the data shows that parks, gardens, playing fields and other green areas add an average premium of 1.1 per cent to houses and flats within 100 metres.
By analysing Ordnance Survey’s Open Greenspace data, the ONS found that the more green space that is close to a property, the greater the premium.

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Green Belt not delivering affordable homes

Of all the homes built on former Green Belt land in the last decade, just one in 10 are “affordable”, according to research by the Campaign to Protect Rural England.
Released on Monday 14 October, Space to Breathe: A State of the Green Belt Report argues that development of the Green Belt is inefficient, land hungry and not the answer to the housing crisis.
CPRE has called for stiffer environmental tests for Green Belt sites and for government to demand higher levels of affordable housing where development is approved.

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Young people worse off than older generations

Property wealth is largely to blame for the substantial economic imbalance between younger generations and previous ones, the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) has claimed. In an article published on 17 October, the IFS argues that those born in the 1980s are the first post-war generation without higher median incomes in their early 30s than those born a decade earlier.
The independent research institute found that only 40 per cent of 30-year olds born in the early 80s were property owners, compared to 60 per cent of those born in the 60s.

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Clear funding plan needed for a net-zero economy

The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) has highlighted the importance of having a clear funding plan in order to achieve the Government’s ambitious aim for a net-zero economy by 2050.
In a letter to the Treasury dated 17 October, CCC chair, Lord Deben welcomed the Government’s commitment to take forward a number of the committee’s suggestions, including scaling up the electric vehicle market to 100 per cent of new sales by 2035 at the latest.
The CCC has encouraged Government to make concrete proposals for action on funding, such as identifying investable propositions for the private sector and managing the impact of revenue loss from fuel duty.

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£196 billion cost of Labour’s renationalisation plans

The Labour party’s proposals to renationalise services, including the UK rail network, are estimated by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) to have an up-front cost of £196 billion.
The CBI’s analysis, released on 14 October, predicts that this expenditure would raise debt levels by 10.7 per cent and cost around £2 billion to service each year. While there is hope that renationalising rail travel would improve services, the CBI raises concerns that international investors would lose confidence in the UK if a Labour government failed to pay full market value for such industries.

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Energy and Environment

New Environment Bill launched

The Government introduced its new Environment Bill as part of its commitment to work towards a net-zero economy by 2050. The Bill legally binds the Secretary of State for the Environment to publish environmental improvement targets, and suggests, but does not insist, that these be long-term targets.
It also implements measures to hold future governments to the same net-zero commitment.

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New Cabinet Committee to be chaired by the Prime Minister

The Prime Minister, the Rt Hon Boris Johnson MP has announced he will chair a new Cabinet Committee on Climate Change leading up to the UN’s climate summit being hosted in the UK next year. The move is aimed at pushing forward action to improve environmental standards and deliver on the UK’s net-zero commitment by 2050.
Members of the Cabinet due to sit on the committee include the Foreign Secretary, the Chancellor, the Business Secretary, the Environment Secretary and the Transport Secretary.

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Offshore wind a huge opportunity for UK manufacturers

The global market for subsea power cables will nearly double over the next five years and create a huge opportunity for UK manufacturers, according to a report by RenewableUK. The trade association claims cables stretching over 16,300km in length will be necessary to build new wind farms worldwide.
As a result, the global market value for cables will grow by 57 per cent from £717m this year to more than £1,130m by 2023.

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Renewables produced more electricity than fossil fuels

According to analysis from Carbon Brief (2019), the combined output of electricity from coal, oil and gas power stations was less than that of the UK’s solar panels, windfarms, biomass and hydro plants, during July, August and September.
Analysis also revealed that renewables generated more electricity in August and September than fossil fuels, the first time this has happened in two consecutive months. Extra capacity from offshore windfarms is contributing significantly to the rise in renewable generation, leading to the demise of gas generation in the UK.

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Other News

Remember, remember the 6th of November

The Chancellor of the Exchequer announced that a Budget will be held on Wednesday 6 November. The Right Hon Sajid Javid MP made the announcement as part of the Government’s commitment to leave the European Union on 31 October, saying the Budget will be a means of “setting out our plan to shape the economy for the future and triggering the start of our infrastructure revolution.”
With 31 October deadline still in doubt, the Budget may be delayed.

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