Week commencing 4 November 2019

In today's bulletin

• Champion for modern housebuilding named
• Parties pledge UK housing upgrade

• Churn and interference undermine infrastructure progress
• Three key actions to go green, CBI tells Government

Property, Planning and Regeneration

Champion for modern housebuilding named

Mark Farmer has been announced as the new Champion for Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) by Housing Minister the Rt Hon Esther McVey MP. It follows the announcement of a £30 million investment in Ilke Homes, the biggest ever injection of government funds into an MMC factory.
With 30 years’ construction experience, Farmer will provide independent scrutiny and advice to the Government on how to increase the use of MMC in homebuilding. Other responsibilities will include developing the ‘Construction Corridor’ in the North and promoting increased innovation.

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Parties pledge UK housing upgrade

The Labour Party has announced a manifesto commitment to home upgrades, to make all new homes zero-carbon within three years. It is also pledging to fund insulation and heating system refits for existing homes.
The party estimates that these initiatives will bring down households’ energy bills, cut national carbon emissions by ten per cent and generate skilled jobs in the construction industry. The Liberal Democrats have made a similar pledge in recent days, promising £15 billion for home insulation with low-income homes prioritised.

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Addressing future housing needs with Home of 2030

Home of 2030 is a new competition inviting proposals for the design and delivery of new homes that are practical, scalable, sustainable, accessible and durable.
Funded by Government and run by a consortium led by BRE with partners Design Council and MOBIE, the competition hopes to attract innovative ideas for individual home designs as well as community and neighbourhood schemes.

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No starter homes built despite 200,000 pledge

An investigation by the National Audit Office has found that none of the 200,000 starter homes pledged in the Conservatives’ 2015 manifesto have been built.
Funding allocated for starter homes has instead been used to acquire and prepare brownfield sites for housing more generally, said the independent watchdog in its findings on Tuesday 5 November.

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Churn and interference undermine infrastructure progress

The government’s management of major infrastructure projects can be undermined by political pressure and high turnover on project teams, an interim report by the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Select Committee has found.
Despite its investigations being interrupted by the election, the report (published 5 November) did establish that projects are often developed before the needs they are designed to address have been determined, avoiding a lack of proper scrutiny of the true business cases.

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Brexit hampers confidence but it’s not all doom and gloom

The uncertain outlook for the UK economy has led to reduced optimism, according to the RICS UK Construction and Infrastructure Market Survey for Q3 2019.
Energy, rail and road are expected to see the strongest growth however, in the context of HS2, Crossrail and Transport for the North’s network of programmes.

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Energy and environment

Three key actions to go green, CBI tells Government

The Director General of the CBI (Confederation of British Industry) has outlined three actions needed from Government to unlock business investment and help the UK meet its target of net zero emissions by 2050.
Carolyn Fairbairn has called on Government to work towards every policy becoming net zero, to ‘green’ the UK’s heating and transport networks, and to start the conversation around the UK’s contribution to greenhouse gas emissions as consumers not just producers. She made the call on 4 November at the launch of the CBI’s new report, ‘The low carbon 2020s – a decade of delivery’.

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Will the UK meet renewables goal for net zero?

The UK is a long way from meeting the level of onshore wind energy needed to meet the legally binding 2050 net zero emissions target, RenewableUK has warned.
The Committee on Climate Change has advised that capacity needs to grow by at least 1 GW a year to achieve the target of 35 GW by 2035.

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Government puts the brakes on fracking

The Government announced a moratorium on shale gas extraction with immediate effect based on new scientific analysis, published on 2 November.
The report, undertaken by the Oil and Gas Authority, stated that it was not possible to accurately predict the magnitude or probability of earthquakes associated with fracking.

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Other News

Sectors struggle as contraction continues for third month

October marked the third month in a row of decline in key sectors, the toughest run since the middle of the global financial crisis a decade ago. Manufacturing and construction sectors both declined while the service sector stagnated, putting the all-sector PMI (Purchasing Managers’ Index) at 49.5, a sign of contraction.
Other gloomy signals included the eighth fall in new orders this year and the steepest job cuts since 2009. However, there was some boost from firms planning ahead for leaving the EU on 31 October.

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