Week commencing 18 November 2019

In today's bulletin

• Lib Dem manifesto sets out commitments for housing sector
• Labour promise sweeping infrastructural reforms

• Transport key to future of UK cities and regions
• New report reveals over 37 export destinations for UK renewables

Property, Planning and Regeneration

22 per cent increase in affordable homes delivered

There were 57,485 affordable homes delivered in England in 2018-19, a 22 per cent increase from the previous year. The latest figures from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, published on 20 November, show 82 per cent of all affordable homes were delivered by private registered providers, with local authorities delivering 11 per cent and non-registered providers five per cent.
25,774 affordable homes were delivered in rural areas, the highest number from the period for which data is available, compared with 31,711 in urban areas. Unlike the 2011-2015 affordable homes programme, the 2016-19 scheme has seen an increase in affordable homes every year.

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Lib Dem manifesto sets out commitments for housing sector

The Liberal Democrats launched their general election manifesto on 20 November, with key pledges on housing, planning and ecology. The party retains its target of 300,000 homes per year by 2024, with 100,000 of these to be social homes – backed up by a £130bn social home capital investment budget.
The manifesto claims a Lib Dem government would scrap permitted development rights and reform the planning system to ensure developers provide key infrastructure such as schools and health facilities. Other pledges include free energy retrofits for low-income homes and government-backed tenancy deposit loans for first-time renters.

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BPF gears up efforts to build trust in the property sector

The British Property Federation will publish the first annual social value report on behalf of the real estate sector in November 2020 as part of its Redefining Real Estate campaign. Statistics from the campaign’s action plan released this month reveal that only 27 per cent of the general public have a positive view of the property sector, with 69 per cent believing the sector favours wealthy people.
The campaign aims to make a greater contribution to the UK’s communities, and improve trust in what the BPF does in partnership with national and local governments.

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Transport key to future of UK cities and regions

The Conservatives have promised ‘a transport revolution’ as part of their manifesto ahead of the general election on 12 December. Launched on 24 November by the Prime Minister, the Rt Hon Boris Johnson, the party claims it will build Northern Powerhouse Rail, fund upgrades to public transport networks across the city regions to “make them as good as London’s”, and invest £28.8 billion in strategic and local roads.
The manifesto reaffirms the commitment to restore many Beeching lines but fails to provide any certainty on the future of HS2.

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Labour promise sweeping infrastructural reforms

Labour have released their most radical manifesto in a generation, announcing vast programmes of renationalisation and public spending. On 21 November they reaffirmed their plan to nationalise bus and train networks, as well as the Big Six energy firms, utility companies and part of BT to provide a universal broadband service.
They have also pledged to deliver Crossrail for the North and complete the full HS2 route to Scotland. Other policy proposals include creating a new Department for Housing, introducing a new zero-carbon homes standard, rewriting the definition of ‘affordable homes’, capping rents at inflation, and making it easier for councils and residents to prevent redevelopments.

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Energy and Environment

New report reveals over 37 export destinations for UK renewables

UK-based onshore and offshore wind, wave and tidal energy is being exported to 37 countries across six continents, a report published on 18 November by Renewables UK shows. In the past year, 47 UK firms signed 465 contracts worth up to £53m per company.
Top export destinations include Germany, Taiwan, Denmark, the USA, and the Netherlands, with 70 per cent of the contracts in offshore wind. In the marine sector, despite no explicit government support in this area, products and expertise were exported to 12 countries.

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Fall in rate of energy-efficient upgrades to homes

13,100 ECO3 measures are being adopted on average every month, pushing the number of homes that have adopted ECO measures to over two million, according to the Government’s November household energy efficiency statistics.
However, the same figures show a slower rate of implementation for ECO3 running from 2018-2022 than at the start of previous periods. Despite the slow start, the Government is still on track to fulfill its pledge to upgrade a million homes between May 2015 and April 2020.

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