Conservative and Labour manifestos go head-to-head over planning

The Conservative Party has announced plans to abolish the entire "bureacratic and undemocratic tier of regional planning" -- including building targets -- in its manifesto launched today, while Labour pledged to build 10,000 council houses a year.

Devolution of planning powers has been highlighted in the Conservative Party's manifesto launched today (13 April) and includes plans to abolish all regional planning and housing powers exercised by regional government.

The plan is to give powers back to local authorities and significant local projects, such as new hosuing estates will have to be designed through a collaborative process involving the neighbourhood.

The Tories also plan to create local incentives for house building by matching pound-for-pound council tax receipts from new housing.

The Labour Party manifesto, which was launched yesterday (12 April), has stated it plans to cut regeneration funding, but also build up to 10,000 council homes a year by the end of the next Parliament and pledges to invest £7.5bn over 2 years to 2011 to build new houses, delivering 110,000 additional energy-efficient affordable homes to rent or buy.

Other issues highlighted in the manifesto documents include:

SMEs

Conservative

  • Make small business rate relief automatic.
  • Aim to deliver 25% of government research and procurement contracts through SMEs by cutting the admin costs of bidding.
  • Give SMEs a £2,000 bonus for every apprentice they hire.

Labour

  • Pledge to cut business rates for one-year from October (announced in Budget).
  • 15 per cent of central government contracts to SMEs (announced in Budget).
  • Advanced apprenticeships expanded to create 70,000 places a year.

Planning

Conservative

  • Abolish all regional planning and housing powers exercised by regional government.
  • Abolish Infrastructure Planning Commission and replace with a system providing a fast-track process for major infrastructure projects.
  • Stop 3rd Runway at Heathrow.
  • Developers to pay a tariff to local authority to compensate the community for loss of amenity. A portion of this tariff will be kept by the neighbourhoods in which a given development takes place.
  • Allow neighbourhoods to stop the practice of garden grabbing.

Labour

  • Centralised planning body to fast-track major infrastructure developments.
  • Heathrow third runway expansion to go ahead but no other airport expansion in next Parliament.
  • Cuts to regeneration funding to focus on worklessness.

Environment

Conservative

  • Promote new green spaces and wildlife corridors to help animals adapt and thrive in the face of climate change.
  • Produce a White Paper on protecting the natural environment, including a focus on restoring habitat.
  • Launch a national tree-planting campaign, planting up to 1m trees in the next Parliament.
  • Prevent unnecessary building in areas of high flood risk.

Labour

  • Maintain the Green Belt and maintain target for 60% of new developments to be on brownfield sites.
  • Move towards universal water metering in areas with water stress.
  • Put forward new areas for protected landscape and habitat status.

Farming

Conservative

  • Negotiate further reform of CAP — dismantling subsidies at a pace that allows time for British farmers and producers in developing countries to adapt.
  • Minimise and reform on-farm inspections.
  • Abolish Agricultural Wages Board.
  • Ensure a fair market for food suppliers by reducing the burden of regulation.
  • Introduce an independent supermarket ombudsman.

Labour

  • Seek reform of CAP to facilitate the creation of fairer and better functioning agricultural markets, enabling farmers to return a reasonable profit from food production at lower cost to the consumer.
  • Create a supermarket ombudsman.
  • Ensure a fair market for food suppliers by reducing the burden of regulation.

 

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