Home » Reeves vows to unlock infrastructure for growth

Reeves vows to unlock infrastructure for growth

by Mark Cantrell
Rachel Reeves, Chancellor of the Exchequer

In her first speech as Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rachel Reeves has pledged to get Britain building again, highlighting planning reform, and the delivery of new infrastructure.

Reeves spoke of the “difficult economic inheritance” the new Labour government faces, but she committed to taking “immediate action to drive sustained economic growth”.

She highlighted the government’s steps to begin delivering change, on housing, on infrastructure, and on planning.

“I am taking immediate action to fix Britain’s economic foundations,” she said in her speech. “By growing our economy we can rebuild Britain and make every part of the country better off.”

Among the government’s announcements is a shot in the arm for on-shore wind energy, with the a more to end the de facto ban on such facilities.

Ed Miliband, energy security and net zero secretary, said: “Every family has paid the price of the ban on onshore wind farms in higher energy bills. This ban has undermined our energy security, put costs on people’s bills – especially those on lower incomes – and held us back in our fight against climate change.

“This government is wasting no time in delivering the bold plan we need to take back control of our energy; boosting our energy independence and cutting bills for families as we tackle the climate crisis.

“Getting rid of this ban and giving priority for planning permission for much needed infrastructure sends an immediate signal to investors here and around the world that the UK is back in business, an immediate step in our mission to make Britain a clean energy superpower.”

Further details on ending the ban on onshore wind will be set out later by the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero, and the Department for Levelling up, Housing and Communities, the government says.

Further announcements are set to be made “in the coming weeks”, according to the government, to accelerate the development of housing and infrastructure. These include the launch of a consultation on an updated, “growth-focused “National Planning Policy Framework to include mandatory housing targets and a requirement to review greenbelt boundaries where necessary to meet them.

These will prioritise Brownfield and “grey belt” land for development to meet housing targets where needed, partnered with new ‘golden rules’ that will make sure the development this frees up will also deliver thousands of affordable homes, including more for social rent.

When it comes to infrastructure, the government says it intends to reform the planning system by making changes “the country needs to forge ahead” with new roads, railways, reservoirs, and other “nationally significant” infrastructure.

To that end, the government says it will set out new policy intentions for critical infrastructure in the coming months, ahead of updating relevant National Policy Statements within the next 12 months to provide certainty to industry.

The government also aims to build on the Strategic Spatial Energy Plan that is being developed by the National Energy System Operator to speed up the roll out of clean power, and says it will seek to expand the use of spatial planning to other infrastructure sectors.

Main image: Rachel Reeves, Chancellor of the Exchequer. Image credit: Lauren Hurley / No 10 Downing Street


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