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Britain Building Again: Chancellor Rachel Reeves first speech focuses on planning amongst its key themes

The new Chancellor of the Exchequer made her first televised speech from the Treasury today, after Labour were elected as the new government of the United Kingdom last Friday. Her speech focused around three key themes under the umbrella of ‘fixing the economy’. These themes included ‘stability, investment and reform’.

On the topic of reform, her comments were almost exclusively isolated to planning system reform. She said that much work had been done in the last 72 hours to review the planning system and vowed to reform the National Planning Policy Framework by the end of the month, including the reintroduction of new mandatory local authority housing targets. In her response to questions following her speech, she clarified further on this topic commenting ‘it will be up to local communities to decide where housing is built but it has to be built.’

Other commitments about planning reform included an immediate end to the ban on new onshore wind farms. The Chancellor described the ban as ‘absurd’ and commented that the Labour government would go further and ‘consult on bringing onshore wind back into the nationally significant infrastructure projects regime, meaning decisions on large developments will be taken nationally, not locally’. She has also committed to the establishment of a new task force to get stalled housing developments moving again and sought to bolster the planning system with the recruitment of a further 300 officers.

The chancellor acknowledged that her reforms are likely to ruffle a few feathers but vowed that the government would ‘not succumb to a status quo which responds to the existence of trade-offs by always saying no’.

Given the self-imposed tight deadline for NPPF reform we can anticipate further announcements along with rapid consultation on these proposals in the coming weeks and days.

The situation is still emerging, and we are monitoring for further updates.

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