William Eichler 04 December 2017

Government’s ‘pre-occupation’ with housing costs business

Government’s ‘pre-occupation’ with housing costs business  image

The Government’s focus on new homes is leading to increased pressure on the availability of employment land and premises, businesses say.

A new report from the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) warns the planning system in England is more complex, costly and difficult for business than it was before the introduction of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).

The report also warns the Government’s ‘pre-occupation’ with housing is at the expense of other land uses, such as employment land. A BCC survey of over 900 businesses revealed that one in five firms are struggling to find the land and premises they need. 

‘Access to affordable employment land and premises is essential for business innovation, expansion, and long-term competitiveness,’ said Jane Gratton, Head of Business Environment at the BCC.

‘Too many firms are now unable to find the land and premises they need.  We risk creating big problems for the future if we don’t get the right balance of jobs and homes.’

‘Firms still face too many barriers, costs and delays as they negotiate the planning system,’ Ms Gratton continued.

‘We need to find a way to make it work better, to provide the strategic certainty for businesses to make their own investment decisions and the freedom and flexibility they need to innovate, grow and compete globally.

‘Planning for jobs and homes, together with up-front government investment in modern infrastructure, will give people better access to employment opportunities.  

‘It will help businesses access a skilled workforce and provide the platform to compete globally.  The planning system must be looked into as part of plans to make the UK Brexit-ready.’

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A commitment to civil debate

Cllr Arooj Shah has been the target of recent threats and harassment. Leaders from all parties in Oldham have now come together to add their signature to a ‘politics, not personalities’ pledge, she explains.
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