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Budget 2012: Presidential response

21 March 2012

Government confirms NPPF will be published on Tuesday

Colin Haylock, President of the RTPI, said: "Despite the pre-budget rhetoric the Chancellor made few new planning announcements. We do at least know that the National Planning Policy Framework will be published and come into effect on Tuesday. Despite the pre-budget rhetoric the Chancellor made few new planning announcements.

We do at least know that the National Planning Policy Framework will be published and come into effect on Tuesday.

Does this mean that the Government has changed its mind on its promise to introduce effective transitional arrangements? The absence of transitional arrangements could risk planning by appeal."

The Rt Hon Greg Clark MP said in his evidence to the Environmental Audit Committee last year that: "It has always been our intention that we will make an announcement about transitional arrangements. Our target, our deadline, for publishing the final version is not until April next year. Well before then we will, reflecting on the suggestions that have been made in the consultation, set out our transition arrangements, but you can be sure that they will not be to the detriment of any authority that is doing the right thing in putting its plan together." (page 22 of the report).

The Planning system

The Chancellor said: "Of course, those projects succeeded because they were not killed off by the planning system. You can't earn your future if you can't get planning permission. Global businesses have diverted specific investments that would have created hundreds of jobs in some of the most deprived communities in Britain to countries like Germany and the Netherlands, because they couldn't get planning permission here."

The RTPI will be asking the Treasury what evidence there is to support these assertions.

The Government will also shortly set out more detail on the twelve-month Planning Guarantee.

The Government will publish a consultation to allow the reconsideration of planning obligations agreed prior to April 2010 where development is stalled.

The Government is taking forward land auction pilots on public sector land with the aim of having two sites ready for market by the end of the year.

Budget 2012 - Goverment documents

The Chancellor's statement can be read here.

The Budget Book 2012, with the complete set of announcements can be read here.

Government press notices can be found here.

Other concerns

Local Authority Planning functions need to be properly resourced if they are to be expected to deliver the speedy decision making the Government wants. The RTPI was disappointed that the Chancellor made no announcement on this and we will continue to press the issue.

There was no announcement on support for Neighbourhood Planning and we will continue to press for a resolution on the issue.

The RTPI welcomes announcements on infrastructure, airports, a UK centre for aerodynamics, and new university research centres. Where these are located is significant and has implications for many policy announcements, and we believe that such important decisions need to be informed by all the evidence that is available. This is why we are launching the 'map for England' initiative tomorrow (22 March), calling for government data to published in a common format and available through a single portal.

Announcements on Investment and growth

The Government will take forward many of Alan Cook's recommendations for the roads, including developing a national roads strategy. The Government will also consider whether to go further and carry out a feasibility study into new ownership and financing models for the national road network.

Confirmation that Belfast, Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Leeds, London, Manchester and Newcastle will become broadband super-connected cities, as part of the £100 million investment announced at 2011 Autumn Statement. £50m will be used to fund a second wave of cities.

Network Rail will extend the Northern Hub, adding to the electrification of the transpennine rail route, by upgrading the Hope Valley line between Manchester and Sheffield - and improving the Manchester to Preston and Blackpool, and Manchester to Bradford lines

The establishment of a new Pension Infrastructure Platform owned and run by UK pension funds, which will begin its initial £2 billion investment in UK infrastructure by early 2013.

A strategy for gas generation in the Autumn, recognising that by gas-fired electricity generation will continue to play a major role in UK energy supplies for the next decade and beyond.

The introduction a package of tax measures to secure billions of pounds of additional oil and gas investment in the UK Continental Shelf.

A deal with Manchester to support £1.2 billion in growth-enhancing infrastructure.

£150 million of Tax Increment Financing to help local authorities promote development.

An extra £270m to the Growing Places fund.

Investing in London transport, lengthening commuter trains, extending the Underground and exploring new river crossings in east London.

24 Enterprise Zones are now going ahead, across England.

The Transport Secretary will set out Government thinking on airport capacity in the South East later this summer.

Enhanced capital allowances for businesses starting up in the new Scottish enterprise areas in Dundee, Irvine and Nigg and there will be a new Welsh Enterprise Zone in Deeside, and plans for the first Enterprise Zone in Northern Ireland.

Committing £100m of support, alongside the private sector for investment in major new university research facilities.

A new UK centre for aerodynamics, to open next year that will encourage innovation in aircraft design and commercialise new ideas.

The Green Investment Bank will open next month.

Announcements on Tax

Reducing the top rate of income tax from 50 per cent to 45 per cent in April 2013.

Introducing a new Stamp Duty rate of 7 per cent for residential properties over £2 million, from 22 March 2012.

The Chancellor is consulting on whether firms with a turnover of up to £77,000 should be taxed on the basis of the cash that passes through their businesses.

Announcements on Pay

The Chancellor has asked the Independent Pay Review bodies to look at whether public sector pay can be made more responsive to local pay rates.