Week commencing 8 June 2020

In today's bulletin

• ‘Urgent need’ for bold planning reform
• Councils given new powers to protect cyclists

• Green jobs can help recovery says LGA
• ’Recovery roundtables’ to aid UK economic bounce-back

Property, Planning and Regeneration

‘Urgent need’ for bold planning reform

Senior policy advisors and industry figures suggest the planning system needs a radical overhaul based on “first principles” in Planning Anew – a collection of essays published on 9 June.
The essays complement Policy Exchange’s earlier report on 21st Century planning reform and, while differing in scope, all agree that bold reform is needed. Contributors include representatives of the National Infrastructure Commission, a housing association, a law firm and a campaigner for more low-cost homes.

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Grants to housebuilders to ease housing supply

The Government should support short-term housing supply with a temporary ‘Help to Build’ scheme, the Centre for Policy Studies has said.
Its proposed scheme would see up to £3 billion of treasury funds issued to housebuilders, so supply can be met while permanent policy reforms are ongoing.

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Don’t remove red tape at the cost of communities

The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) has warned housing secretary Robert Jenrick against allowing the Government’s upcoming planning reforms to usher in a new era of “inappropriate developments” in rural communities.
The campaign’s 10 June press release emphasised a need to create high-quality buildings and developments in the right locations that benefit local communities and their wellbeing and provide appropriate access to green spaces.

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Outside space a priority for UK homebuyers as market improves

New buyer enquiries saw a sharp increase in May following April’s record low, after the UK housing market reopened in the middle of last month.
Published 11 June, the Royal Institute for Chartered Surveyor’s (RICS) latest survey also suggests buyers are increasingly interested in homes with or near to outdoor spaces.

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Transport

Councils given new powers to protect cyclists

Local authorities will be granted new powers to penalise drivers who illegally block cycle lanes and create dangerous conditions for cyclists.
The cycling minister, Chris Heaton-Harris MP announced that, from 22 June, councils will be able to use CCTV to help protect cyclists and promote cycling.

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Three quarters of UK businesses using electric vehicles

Seventy-six per cent of UK businesses with company vehicles are either already using electric vehicles or intend to do so imminently, according to a London First survey.
Published on 9 June, the survey of 500 businesses revealed that half believe they will have switched to EVs by 2025 and a third by 2022. Both dates are ahead of the Government’s 2035 target.

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Energy and Environment

Green jobs can help recovery says LGA

The UK’s net-zero transition could create around 700,000 green jobs by 2030 and help counter post-furlough job losses expected this October, according to the Local Government Association.
In a report published on 11 June, the LGA calls for more local funding to secure a workforce for green industries and supply chains expecting growth.

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Prioritise SMEs to boost growth with a national retrofit strategy

A government co-ordinated national retrofit strategy would help to prevent job losses, improve homes, and achieve net zero by 2050, the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) has said.
On 11 June, the FMB also called for government to streamline the planning process and support apprenticeship schemes to boost regional growth.

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Other News

‘Recovery roundtables’ to aid UK economic bounce-back

Five working groups of businesses, representatives and academics will discuss the UK’s economic bounce-back in ‘recovery roundtables’, business secretary Alok Sharma announced on 8 June.
The groups will each focus on recovery themes, including the future of industry, green recovery, increasing opportunity and ensuring the UK’s continued appeal to investors and new businesses.

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Insufficient progress made on social mobility recommendations, commission says

Successive governments have made insufficient progress in improving social mobility and responding to a series of recommendations put forward in 2013, the Social Mobility Commission has claimed.
In a report published on 10 June, the commission suggests more work is needed to improve the social mobility value of transport and housing, while devolution of spending powers for levelling-up the value of placemaking long-term is cited as an area lacking progress.

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Record jump in manufacturing output as UK begins to emerge from coronavirus lockdown

The UK’s manufacturing output jumped in May as lockdown measures eased, recovering around half of the losses made in the previous two months, according to the latest BDO index.
Published on 8 June, the index shows that output is still well below desired levels despite this steep rise.

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