The government has formally announced its 'four point plan' to encourage development in the UK.
Key measures include:
- The further relaxation of planning rules on brownfield sites
- Encouraging the development of 'starter homes'
- Introducing the right to buy for housing association tenants
- Pooling local authority pension funds into 'British Wealth Funds' which will be encouraged to invest in infrastructure
- Sale of government assets to fund infrastructure
- The creation of the National Infrastructure Commission
None of these measures are exactly new. Many of them featured in the 'productivity plan' unveiled earlier this year. However, today's announcement does suggest that draft legislation (including the long awaited Housing Bill) may not be far away.
First, planning rules on brownfield sites are being removed to free up land for development, the housing budget directed towards new ‘low cost homes for sale’ for first-time buyers and housing association tenants given the right-to-buy to increase home ownership and construction. Second, the existing 89 Local Authority pension funds will be pooled into half a dozen British Wealth Funds.... The new funds will develop the expertise to invest in infrastructure. Third, the government will bring forward sales of land, buildings and other assets the government bought or built, raising up to £5 billion over the course of this Parliament. The funds from these sales will be recycled to help fund new infrastructure projects. Fourth, a new independent National Infrastructure Commission ...is being created today ... It will be charged with offering unbiased analysis of the UK’s long-term infrastructure needs.