Business and Planning Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:21 pm on 29th June 2020.

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Photo of Alok Sharma Alok Sharma The Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy 5:21 pm, 29th June 2020

The Minister for Housing, my right hon. Friend Christopher Pincher, will deal with the details of that. The point of these measures is to get the economy going, which my hon. Friend Richard Fuller is keen to do. I understand his point, and we will address it in Committee.

The Bill temporarily allows the issuing of one-year lorry or bus driving licence renewals, rather than the standard five years. Shorter renewals will be allowed if an applicant is otherwise healthy but unable to obtain the medical report required for a five-year licence. That will relieve pressure on GPs and allow drivers to continue to work. The Bill also reforms powers to exempt temporarily goods vehicles, buses and coaches from roadworthiness testing. That will allow the high demand for heavy-vehicle testing, which restarts from 4 July, to be managed in a manner that prioritises road safety by targeting higher-risk vehicles or operators.

In conclusion, the Government have stood shoulder to shoulder with businesses throughout the covid-19 emergency and now, as we emerge from this pandemic, we need to support our economic recovery and help businesses with more flexible ways of working. The great British economy, helped by a willing public, is reawakening from its enforced slumber. Taken together, the measures in the Bill are designed to provide a much-needed economic boost, and I commend it to the House.