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Victoria Hills: Rising to the challenge

Victoria Hills MRTPI FICE is Chief Executive at the RTPI 

In her first address as Chancellor, Rachel Reeves outlined the political agenda of today, and placed national renewal at it’s heart. Furthermore she made it absolutely clear that the planning systems were a foundational part of that renewal. This, I believe, will be a crucial turning point for the politics and policies that we planning professionals work under.

I have no doubt that our members can rise to this challenge and deliver on the these bold ambitions. There will undoubtedly be significant changes as you would expect from a new party coming into Government, but I am reassured that the professionalism of our members will shine through.

Like the Chancellor, the RTPI has wasted little time, and has worked quickly to respond to the new government, sharing an open letter to the new Prime Minister on behalf of the 27,000 planners in the RTPI’s membership, responding to Chancellor Reeves’ announcements yesterday, and pushing back firmly on recent criticism of planners in the national press. This morning, I spoke on BBC Radio 5 Live’s Wake Up to Money and Nicky Campbell to make the case for investing in planning.

In the coming days, I'll be meeting with new Housing Minister Matthew Pennycook to discuss how we can work together to unlock the power of the planning system. I’m looking forward to that work, building on the minister’s clear understanding of the value of planning and his track record of championing the RTPI's amendments to the Levelling Up and Regeneration Act. 

Whether it’s appearing on the radio or meeting the minister, we’ve been working to underscore the critical role of the planning system in driving the UK economy.  

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Victoria pictured with Sir Keir Starmer

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Victoria pictured with Matthew Pennycook

We recently commissioned a report from economic experts Public First, whose research drove this point home. It revealed that investing in planning could unlock £70 billion in additional value for communities and the UK economy—a finding we’ll continue to drive home with government in the first 100 days. 

These wins come on the heels of months of advocacy on behalf of the planning profession, starting with the launch of our Planifesto campaign last September, as well as our behind-the-scenes work to brief the Labour team on how they can support the planning profession. We also launched a General Election Hub, where you can still find detailed manifesto analysis and public-facing ‘explainers’ that explore the political debates around key planning issues. 

So, in short it seems our work may have only just begun.

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