Mind the Climate Gap

As the dust settles on a crowded Queen’s Speech focused on Boris’s three election priorities; Brexit, the NHS and law and order, what has the legislative programme to offer to placemaking and infrastructure?

In reality, the speech gave titbits today ahead of the main course to be served in 2020.  The Budget scheduled for February is slated not only to fill-in the details of investment priorities, but also publish the National Infrastructure and Government Construction Strategies.  In the meantime, the key business is the Environment Bill, housing safety legislation, rail reform and support to broadband roll-out.

Amidst the flurry of legislation, which means that each Bill will receive about one week’s worth of parliamentary scrutiny, the Government also plans vital consultation on further devolution for the regions and more reform to the planning system.  We hope that the planning consultation will prove to be far more ambitious than suggested by the proposal to provide discounted homes for sale through the planning gain system, giving proper consideration to land value capture as well as the reliable delivery of affordable and social housing. The thin and unimaginative legislative fare in these important areas perhaps gives substance to rumours that the PM intends to enact changes in these policy areas in the spring as part of a re-structure of machinery of Govt. In any event; it is important in our view that these issues receive more focus than the Queen’s Speech implies they will.

There will always be gaps in a legislative programme, and in this Queen’s Speech, the big one is the UK’s response to climate change.  Even with the Environment and Farming Bills, the 2020 session looks like a missed opportunity.  It is essential that all bodies keep the pressure up to ensure that other measures, particularly decarbonisation, have greater priority in future parliaments.

The final critical area for our sector is skills.  The plans for a £3bn national skills are welcome.  However with the confirmation that the Brexit transition period will end on 31st December 2020, the UK has  one year to establish a fully functioning points-based immigration system that works for the sector.  Let’s hope that the Home Office make this a top priority.

Simon Rawlinson

Partner - Head of Strategic Research and Insight +44 (0)20 7812 2319 Ask me a question
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