Business and Planning Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 7:48 pm on 29th June 2020.

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Photo of Christopher Pincher Christopher Pincher Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government) 7:48 pm, 29th June 2020

I do not believe that this Bill does anything to disadvantage anybody in their right to fair access to information. Some of the changes that we have already made allow people to take part in planning committees virtually. Not everybody wants to go down to their town hall at 10 o’clock on a wet February evening if they can, quite literally, dial into those planning committees and see what is going on. They have access in a way that they would not ordinarily have.

I make this final point with reference to my hon. Friend’s point and the changes that we are making to the Planning Inspectorate’s processes. This particular proposition was made by Dame Bridget Rosewell as part of her recommendations. It was one of the 22 recommendations that she made, and it will allow planning inspectors to use a variety of tools consecutively to speed up their adjudication on decisions, which is good for everybody involved in the process. The average time has already been cut from 47 weeks to 23. We believe that this mechanism will speed up adjudication on planning decisions even more, and that is to the betterment of all involved.

This Bill could not be more important for reopening our economy, for championing firms large and small and for helping people live their lives again, with safety still paramount. Let us ensure this Bill’s swift passage, as I think all hon. Members have said in their contributions, and get Britain back in business. I commend this Bill to the House.

Question put and agreed to.

Bill accordingly read a Second time; to stand committed to a Committee of the whole House (Order, this day).