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Unblocking the planning system through more skills and capacity

This news story was kindly supplied by Steve Partridge, Head of Media and Communications, British Chambers of Commerce

The Planning Skills Fund is an industry-lend initiative to solve a problem that has bedevilled Local Planning Authorities (LPA) for decades. They don’t have enough trained staff to do the job.

This lack of resource means approval for developments, from homes to factories to grid connections, takes too long. This is a major headache for firms; it ramps up costs, damages business confidence, and holds back investment.

The Solution

That’s why the British Chambers of Commerce, with support from Aviva, has launched the Planning Skills Fund to train and upskill more planners.  Recognising their ambition, the government has partnered with the BCC to ensure councils have funds to employ this new talent.

Donating to make an impact

The five year programme will develop a new pipeline of skilled planners, enabling at least an extra 100 people to qualify, with a guaranteed two-year job at an LPA afterwards. It will also tackle immediate needs, training current planners to increase their expertise to help boost local economic growth.

The training and bursary programme will be administered by the Royal Town Planning Institute to make sure it meets the needs of learners, councils, and industry.

The aim is to speed up the planning system for businesses in local economies throughout the UK. Aviva has already pledged £500,000 towards the £3m training fund target, but further donations are needed.

The more we raise, the greater the impact

The government has pledged to match private sector donations, to pay the council salaries of the new planners for their two-year guaranteed commitment to an LPA. The more funds raised, the more skilled resource and capacity will be available to councils, allowing them to deliver a faster and more consistent planning service for firms.   

This is a brilliant example of business providing solutions to the big problems that impact on people and the economy. Everyone wins. That’s why we need more businesses to come forward and contribute to the funding pot.

There is no minimum payment. Every business, from every sector and of every size, who wants to see a planning system that works quickly and effectively, can put in whatever they wish.

The sooner we raise the £3m, the sooner these extra planners can make a difference on the ground and get the UK economy working for everyone.

Find out more

For more information including how to donate please visit the BCC website.

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