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Budget 2015: Crucial that we begin to invest again in local planning

18 March 2015

The Chancellor made a series of announcements today covering the economy, housing, infrastructure and local growth.

In his final Budget before the election he said the squeeze on public spending would end earlier than planned because of stronger growth and low inflation but that the targets remained very tough and would not be changed.

Chancellor -redbox

Janet Askew, President of the RTPI (pictured below), said: “We welcome in principle new measures to boost housing and regeneration but will need to see the detail of what is proposed and how they are to be delivered. It is crucial that we begin to invest again in local planning for a growing and sustainable economy. The National Audit Office revealed a huge 46% reduction in spending on planning and development services. This highlights very clearly the need to channel more resources into the planning system at local authority level.”

UPDATE: Read the RTPI's detailed analysis of the budget

Key extracts from the Chancellors speech relating to the built environment: 

• London is the global capital of the world, and we want it to grow stronger still.
• Today we confirm: new investment in transport; regeneration from Brent Cross to Croydon; new powers for the Mayor over skills and planning; and new funding for the London Land Commission to help address the acute housing shortage in the capital.
• We will build on London’s success by building the Northern Powerhouse.

A-Janet Askew _I0A3118 (1)• Working across party lines, and in partnership with the councils of the north of England, we are this week publishing a comprehensive Transport Strategy for the North.
• We are funding the Health North initiative from the great teaching hospitals and universities there.
• We are promoting industries from chemicals in the North East of England to Tech in the North West
• And I can today confirm agreement with the West Yorkshire Combined Authority for a new city deal.
• Our agreement with Greater Manchester on an elected mayor is the most exciting development in civic leadership for a generation – with the devolution of power over skills, transport and now health budgets.
• I can announce today that we have now reached provisional agreement to allow Greater Manchester to keep 100% of the additional growth in local business rates as we build up the English Northern Powerhouse.
• For where cities grow their economies through local initiatives, let me be clear: we will support and reward them.
• We will also offer the same business rates deal to Cambridge and the surrounding councils, and my door is open to other areas too.
• For our ambition for a truly national recovery is not limited to building a Northern Powerhouse. We back in full the long term economic plans we have for every region.
• The Midlands is an engine of manufacturing growth. So we are today giving the go-ahead to a £60 million investment in the new Energy Research Accelerator and confirming the new national energy catapult will be in Birmingham.
• And we’re going to back our brilliant automotive industry by investing £100 million to stay ahead in the race to driverless technology.
• And to encourage a new generation of low emission vehicles we will increase their company car tax more slowly than previously planned, while increasing other rates by 3% in 2019-20.
• We’re also connecting up the South West of England, with over £7 billion of transport investment, better roads, support for air links, and – I can confirm today – a new rail franchise which will bring new intercity express trains and greatly improved rail services.
• We are confirming the introduction of the first 20 Housing Zones that will keep England building, along with the extension of 8 enterprise zones across England, with new zones in Plymouth and Blackpool too.
• We’re giving more power to Wales. We’re working on a Cardiff city deal and we are opening negotiations on the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon.
• The Severn Crossings are a vital link for Wales. I can tell the House we will reduce the toll rates from 2018, and abolish the higher band for small vans and buses.
• Increasing the borrowing for Northern Ireland to fund infrastructure
• In Scotland, we will continue working on the historic devolution agreement, implement the Glasgow City Deal, and open negotiations on new city deals for Aberdeen and Inverness.

Read Chancellor’s speech
View Budget Book 

Read the DCLG press notice

Read the Improving the compulsory purchase process press notice

Read Wales Office press notice

Read RTPI's 10 key proposals for Planning in the next Parliament