Economic growth is a top Government priority. New buildings, renovation and infrastructure are rightly seen as an engine of economic growth which could boost the economy and lower unemployment. However these latest proposals, so soon after the National Planning Policy Framework was published, have the hallmarks of panic measures. Alarmed at the persistent sluggishness of the economy, the Treasury has produced a series of ill-thought out measures, probably advanced against the better judgement of DCLG.
Most of these proposals are not going to materially improve economic performance but instead will raise additional problems for the planning function, adding to workload despite intentions and enlarging public disillusionment with planning. Most of the measures should be withdrawn. And fresh furore over Green Belt would be a false skirmish because no change to policy or process is being made. Cutting VAT for a time on building works would be a far more effective economic stimulus than abandoning planning controls.