Budget Resolutions and Economic Situation — Amendment of the Law

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:22 pm on 25th March 2013.

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Photo of Eric Pickles Eric Pickles The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government 4:22 pm, 25th March 2013

No. The right hon. Gentleman has had his chance to intervene, and his intervention was not very good.

Let me deal first with our reforms of the planning system. Labour’s top-down, centralist approach built nothing but resentment. Its regional strategies added a layer of red tape that paralysed planning. By the time of the general election, six years after Labour’s Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004, only one in six councils had adopted a core strategy and only one in four had a five-year land supply.

Nor did Labour’s approach lead to better co-ordination. The regional spatial strategies of the unelected regional assemblies contradicted the regional economic strategies of the unelected regional development agencies. Fortunately, the Localism Act 2011 is now scrapping Labour’s regional planning. The national planning policy framework has streamlined 1,000 pages of confusing Whitehall guidance and placed local plans in pole position—safeguarding the green belt, introducing a new protection for valuable green spaces, amending bureaucratic change-of-use rules to make it easier to get redundant and empty buildings back into productive use, and kick-starting brownfield regeneration.