Chancellor steps up industry engagement

Government to support UK industry In the run up to the Autumn Statement the Chancellor Philip Hammond will speak to British businesses in a series of high profile meetings.

As well as holding further discussions with the financial services sector in October, the Chancellor will chair roundtables with representatives from the world of technology, retailing and manufacturing as well as meeting investors, importers and exporters and hosting representatives from the Confederation of Business Industry (CBI), the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) and the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC).

From virtual reality to food, clothing and banking, the Chancellor will meet with representatives covering almost every aspect of the economy.

He will set out the government’s plans to support an economy that works for everyone and then lead a discussion with industry representatives on the underlying strengths of the UK economy as we enter a period of adjustment in the lead up to leaving the European Union.

Representatives will also be given an opportunity to contribute their views on the future of Britain outside of the European Union and offer input to how the government can best offer support to their industries and workforces leading up to the Autumn Statement.

Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond said: “We want to ensure the continued investment that creates jobs and supports wage growth throughout this period of uncertainty ahead of the UK formally leaving the European Union.

“That means listening to businesses and organisations who represent working people all over the country, and taking the necessary steps to maintain economic stability.

“From manufacturing to new technology, exporters to small businesses, I am determined that industry and government work together to ensure that Britain takes full advantage of the opportunities Brexit presents. That means engaging in open and constructive dialogue with business leaders in the months ahead.”

Increase in number of new homes built and started

Increase in number of new homes built and startedThe number of newly built homes across England has increased 6% in the past year, new figures released today show.

The latest house building data shows that 139,030 new homes were completed in the year to June and have continued to build gradually over the last 2 years.

More than 144,280 homes were started in the year to June 2016.

Meanwhile, figures from the Council of Mortgage Lenders show there are more first-time buyers than at any time since 2007, with 72,800 in England in the second quarter of 2016.

Communities Secretary Sajid Javid said: “We’ve got the country building again with more new homes started and built than this time last year.

This is real progress but there is much more to do. That’s why we are going further and increasing our investment in house building to ensure many more people can benefit.”

House building across the country

Today’s figures show strong regional growth in London, Swindon and Wakefield, which are all experiencing high levels of completions.

Delivery in London saw 24% more homes being built in the year to June 2016 than the previous year with local authorities in Greenwich and Waltham Forest seeing completions soar 126% and 103% respectively over the same period.

And in Swindon and Wakefield completions were up 104% and 41% respectively.

Figures published last year show that the total number of new homes across the country rose by 25% in 2014 to 2015, when taking in to account all homes, including new builds, houses that have been converted into flats and buildings whose use has been changed to residential.

The government is committed to building the homes this country needs and investing £8 billion to build 400,000 more affordable homes to rent and buy.

The landmark Housing and Planning Act will help deliver on its ambition to build a million more homes by ensuring councils continue to play a key role in delivery, and through new measures that will allow them to deliver more homes more swiftly.

Building plans for Acton Main Line station unveiled

Building plans for Acton Main Line station unveiledNetwork Rail has submitted proposals for a new station building at Acton Main Line to Ealing Council for approval that will create new facilities.

The proposals for a bright, modern, spacious new ticket hall are part of the Crossrail project in preparation for the arrival of Elizabeth line services.

The new glass and steel structure, designed by Bennetts Associates on behalf of Network Rail, will be located on Horn Lane.

The transformation of the station will be carried out by Network Rail as part of their Railway Upgrade Plan. From the end of 2017 the station will be run by Transport for London as part of London’s integrated transport network.

Matthew Steele, Crossrail Programme Director at Network Rail said: “Our proposed design will completely transform Acton Main Line station and provide a greatly enhanced passenger experience for those using the station. The ticket office will be light and airy and the station will be fully accessible, with new lifts providing step-free access from street level to trains.”

Matthew White, Crossrail Surface Director said: “The Crossrail project will provide a step change in public transport for people in the area – new trains, quicker journeys and a brand new station at Acton Main Line. The new service will provide fast and reliable journeys to the West End, the City and Canary Wharf.”

Councillor Bassam Mahfouz said: “It is getting very exciting as the arrival of Crossrail draws nearer. Ealing is one of only two London boroughs which will have five Crossrail stations.

It will bring huge economic benefits and we are working closely with Crossrail to ensure that the new stations are well-designed, innovative and accessible so that travelling is a speedy and pleasant experience.”

When the new railway fully opens in 2019, four Elizabeth line services an hour in each direction will serve Acton Main Line station, allowing passengers to travel right through central London without having to change trains.

New Blackpool Enterprise Zone to light up the Northern Powerhouse

Enterprise ZonesBlackpool is to become the latest place to benefit from an Enterprise Zone and will become a centre of excellence for the energy sector, boosting the local economy, James Wharton has announced.

The Northern Powerhouse Minister said that the move would attract greater inward investment and help deliver hundreds of new jobs.

It will also provide an opportunity to secure the long term future of Blackpool Airport.

Northern Powerhouse Minister James Wharton said: “From Sheffield to the Solent, we’ve seen how having an Enterprise Zone can completely transform a local economy, creating jobs and attracting significant investment.

Blackpool is the latest town set to benefit from having these additional business freedoms, which is a real boost for the town’s ambitions to become a centre of excellence for the UK energy sector, as well as being the home of the world famous illuminations.

On top of this, by closing the economic gap between the North and South and attracting new businesses to the Enterprise Zone, it could secure the future of Blackpool Airport for years to come.”

An energy centre of excellence

Blackpool to benefit from new Enterprise Zone, which could attract up to 140 new businesses and 3,000 high-tech jobs.

An opportunity to secure the long-term future of Blackpool Airport.

Will provide vital jobs and skills training for the energy industry.

Britain building again as new homes rise by a quarter

Britain building again as new homes rise by a quarterThe number of new homes in England has risen by 25% over the past year – the highest annual percentage increase in 28 years, new figures released this week show.

Communities Secretary Greg Clark said it was further proof of the government’s commitment to get more homes built with 170,690 new homes last year and more than 700,000 additional homes delivered since 2010.

There has been a significant increase in the number of new homes delivered by converting buildings into residential properties.

More than 20,600 of these homes were built in 2014 to 2015 – a rise of 65% on the year before.

It comes just weeks after the government announced it would extend permitted development rights that enable offices to be converted into new homes without having to submit a planning application.

Communities Secretary Greg Clark said: “As a one nation government we’re determined to make sure everyone has the opportunity and security of owning a home of their own.

Today’s figures show a 25% increase in the number of new homes over the past year – showing our reforms are building new homes across Britain.

We are going further and will do everything we can to help families buy a place of their own. Government support like Help to Buy and our plans to build 200,000 new Starter Homes will help anyone who aspires to own their own home the chance of making their dream a reality.”

Housing Minister Brandon Lewis said: “We’ve brought the housebuilding industry back from the brink, giving them the tools they need to get on with the job and build the homes hard-working people need.

That includes making it easier for developers to turn underused buildings into new homes with today’s figures showing a 65% increase in these kinds of developments over the past year.”

£2 billion support for Hinkley Point C

£2 billion support for Hinkley Point CGeorge Osborne has insisted new nuclear power stations are essential to make sure the lights stay on, as he gave the go-ahead to the initial government guarantee for the first such plant in Britain for 20 years.

While on a five day tour of China, the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced the new government guarantee, provided by Infrastructure UK, for a new nuclear power station planned for Hinkley Point C in Somerset.

The initial deal is set to be worth around £2 billion and will pave the way for a final investment decision by energy company EDF, supported by China General Nuclear Corporation and China National Nuclear Corporation, later this year, and with further amounts potentially available in the longer-term.

The construction and operation of Hinkley Point C will create thousands of jobs in Somerset and more widely in the nuclear industry across the UK, as well as boosting Britain’s energy security.

The new plant is expected to produce enough energy to supply seven per cent of the country’s needs, powering around six million homes.

It is also expected to open the door to unprecedented collaboration in the UK and China on the construction of new nuclear power stations.

Chancellor George Osborne said: “Britain was the home to the very first civil nuclear power stations in the world and I am determined that we now lead the way again.

So I am delighted to announce this guarantee for Hinkley Point today and to be in China to discuss their investments in Britain’s nuclear industry.

It is another move forward for the golden relationship between Britain and China – the world’s oldest civil nuclear power and the world’s fastest growing civil nuclear power.”

Energy Secretary Amber Rudd said: “We will continue to work with EDF to finalise the Hinkley deal, which will power nearly six million homes and create more than 25,000 jobs – providing more financial security for working people and their families as we transition to a low-carbon future.”

Help to Buy scheme boosts house building

Help to Buy scheme boosts house buildingHelp to Buy, has helped nearly 120,000 people achieve their aspiration of buying a new home while boosting the house building industry, latest figures have revealed.

Since the launch of the Help to Buy equity loan and mortgage guarantee schemes 80% of scheme completions have been made by first-time buyers, with more expected when the government’s Help to Buy ISA launches in December

The scheme was created in 2013 to ensure that working people who were doing the right thing and saving for a deposit could achieve their aspiration of buying their own home through government support.

Together with the government’s Help to Buy: NewBuy scheme – which offered 95% mortgages for those buying new-build properties – the number of new home owners has reached over 118,000.

Getting Britain building

Help to Buy is also supporting the country’s economy by getting Britain building again. Half of homes bought under the scheme were new-build properties, contributing to the sharpest rise in house building orders since 2003.
Both annual housing starts and planning approvals are at a seven year high, with more than 606,000 new homes being built since 2010.

Helping people across the UK

Help to Buy is helping people throughout the UK achieve their dream of owning a new or bigger home.

With almost all completions outside London, the highest number of homes have been through the mortgage guarantee scheme in the North West region. The equity loan – a scheme for new build properties – is particularly high in the South East region.

New town in South Hams gets the go-ahead

New town in South Hams is gets the go-aheadDetailed plans for the first phase of a new Devon town have been approved, paving the way for economic growth and new constitution jobs in the trades.

Building work on the multi-billion pound Sherford development near Plymouth will start soon, seeing the construction of 580 new houses.

The town will have four schools, a library, GP surgery, town hall, community centres and parks.
Some local people have raised concerns the development does not contain an ambulance station and that local hospitals will struggle to cope.

The developers, the Sherford Consortium, forecast the new community will inject £2 billion into the local economy.

South Hams District Council and Plymouth City Council granted their permission for the first phase of this  major development scheme that will boost the buiding industry and help growth.

Leader of South Hams District Council John Tucker said: “This advanced step in planning approval is a milestone which marks the real beginning of Sherford as a town, bringing much needed housing and jobs to the area.”

Government drive to use land and property for growth

Government drive to use land and property for growthLocal councils will be encouraged to release surplus public land and property, as part of the Government’s productivity plan to create new jobs and boost economic growth.

Through the Cabinet Office and the Local Government Association (LGA)-led One Public Estate programme local councils will be encouraged to share buildings and services, reduce running costs and release land in order to boost development.

The 32 councils that are currently on the programme own 28 per cent of council land and property assets in England. They expect to deliver an additional 9,000 homes, 20,000 jobs, raise £129 million in capital receipts from land sales and cut running costs by £77 million over five years.

In the Budget it was announced that £6 million would go towards forming new partnerships of councils to transform local services and deliver local growth.

Minister for Cabinet Office, the Rt Hon Matthew Hancock said: “Over the last five years the Government’s property reforms have raised £1.4 billion for hard-working taxpayers and in the years ahead we will go further, and faster.

“By freeing up land and encouraging growth we are helping local communities to spring to life and find a new use for old government land.”

LGA Chairman, Cllr Gary Porter, said:”Through One Public Estate, councils have shown that they are perfectly placed to act as leaders of place and deliver effective cross public sector asset management.

It is great to see in practice and how through the programme we are seeing the integration of services, local economic growth, and support more sustainable local government.

“It’s clear this isn’t easy work and the investment of time, energy and patience, as well as funds, needs to go hand in hand with strong leadership. But I think what the One Public Estate programme has shown us is that the hard work is worth it.”

Successes to date include City of York Council entering a partnership with Network Rail to jointly release city centre land for the development of 1,100 new homes and 80,000 sq m of central business district and Leeds City Council working in partnership with Leeds Community Health on joint use of their land and property to underpin delivery of integrated health and social care services across the city.

Go-ahead for new larger station building at Southall

Go-ahead for new larger station building at SouthallProposals for a major overhaul of Southall station as part of the Crossrail programme have been approved by Ealing Council, paving the way for work to start this summer.

The work will be carried out by Network Rail and will last around 2 years. From the end of 2017, the station will be run by Transport for London as part of London’s integrated transport network.

By improving transport links, Crossrail is already unlocking development opportunities in west London, encouraging investment and supporting local jobs and businesses.

Almost half of planning applications (44%) within a kilometre of the five stations in the London Borough of Ealing cited the new railway as a justification for the development proceeding.

An example of a development that has cited Crossrail as a key factor includes the Southall Gas Works. The 83 hectare brownfield site has outline planning permission for a development of 3,750 homes and 525,000 square feet of commercial and community space and a primary school.

Matthew White, Crossrail Surface Director said: “The Crossrail improvements will transform the station and deliver a larger building that will serve local people for many decades to come.

The designs show a bright, spacious structure that will be easier for passengers to get around and will provide a focal point for the local area.”

Councillor Julian Bell, leader of Ealing Council, said: “The new design makes it as easy as possible for passengers to use, while also making a significant improvement to the town centre in line with the regeneration work that is already well underway in the area.

It is clear that the new station and the arrival of Crossrail will bring long lasting benefits not only for commuters but for the area as a whole.”

Crossrail has also been working with Ealing Council and Network Rail to help develop plans for improvements around both the new and existing station buildings which can be implemented when the new station building has opened.