Telegraph worried war on countryside to recommence


Campaigners fear government plans to streamline planning rules will herald a “war” on rural areas and blight the countryside with new buildings.

Brandon Lewis, the planning minister, has hired an eight strong team to “slash” the amount of time it takes for councils to set up local plans which set out where building can take place.

But half of the group have backgrounds which have involved with the construction of more homes and other buildings, prompting fears that the needs of developers will be put first.

John Howell MP – the architect of the Tory policy which underlies the new National Planning Policy Framework – is also on board as well as a former senior planning inspector.

Other members include John Rhodes, a planning consultant, Adrian Penfold, the head of planning at developers British Land, and Richard Harwood, a senior barrister who specialises in planning

Liz Peace, the former chief executive of the British Property Federation, was one of the leading cheerleaders for the planning reforms, which were introduced in March 2012 with a bias in favour of development.

The announcement of the new panel led to online exchanges between Mr Lewis and Shaun Spiers, the chief executive of the Campaign to Protect Rural England.

Mr Spiers told the minister on Twitter that it was “another developer-led panel on planning, without environment or community representation”. The outcome would be “depressingly predictable”, he said.

Mr Lewis defended the group saying that “their first-class advice will help councils push on and deliver the homes and infrastructure that their communities need”.

Councils are duty bound to publish five year housing plans in local development plans but only two thirds of local authorities in England have done so.

Earlier this year ministers raised the prospect forcing councils which have not set up local plans to accept housing quotas.

Mr Spiers told The Telegraph last night: “Everyone wants local authorities to get plans in place, to strengthen the economy and get houses built.

“But planning is also about the communities and places we love. Reconciling our different aspirations makes planning complex and deeply political. Assembling a bunch of developers and politicians to streamline the process won’t work. We’ve been down that path before.

“If the government is going to get the development it wants, it will have to win people’s consent. And to win that consent, it will have to show it is listening and wants to safeguard the countryside and the wider environment.

“Brandon Lewis has been a good listener, and I hope the composition of this panel, without any voice for the environment or local communities, does not signal the return of the war on planning.”

Councils have until early 2017 to produce local plans before ministers will intervene and arrange for one to be written. In cases where no Local Plan has been produced the Government will intervene to arrange for one to be written, in consultation with local people.

Mr Lewis said: “Our planning reforms have caught the imagination of communities across the country, allowing them to bring forward developments that are a real benefit to local people.

“However, while many have seized this opportunity, it’s fair to say the process of getting Local Plans in place can sometimes be lengthy and complicated.

“That’s why we’ve brought together this panel of experts to help look at ways to streamline the process. Their first-class advice will help councils push on and deliver the homes and infrastructure that their communities need.”

A Communities and Local Government spokesman said: “The Local Plans panel comprises experts from a range of backgrounds.

“In addition, because plan-making involves a wide range of considerations, the panel can call on other experts as they see fit.

“Local plans are all about giving power to the people and the panel will make sure that happens more efficiently while maintaining strong protections for the Green Belt”.

Scotland’s Panel to Review Planning Legislation is Designed to Fail and Will

If you were to structure a review of a planning system that has been designed by civil serpents to fail you could not do better than what is currently happening in Scotland. where the planning minister has set up a ‘game changing’ review panel of three without any planners on it, a quangocrate, a developer and a planning aid rep instead.

There have been calls from both sides for reform.  From developers looking jealously at the more developers led system in England, and community groups proposing a radical community led (and anto development) agenda they think devolution now enables.  Both of course would be a disaster.

If civil servants wanted reform they would have appointed a serious panel that was independent of axe grinding stakeholders rather comprised of independent international experts and legal experts with a clear research and evidence gathering agenda, also bringing in systems and public sector performance expertese to streamline buerarcy.  Rather this is a panbel in classic Royal Commission split the difference we cant decide what to do style.  It is a joke.  The RTPI Scotland ism right to cry fowl and shpuld boycott the whole process.

No Architectural Tweaks without Strategic Urban Design Won’t Solve London’s Housing Crisis

This week New London Architecture has launched 100 design ideas for meeting London’s Housing Crisis.  Meanwhile Savills & London First has launched a report on increasing density in London.

Both labour under a fallacy.  Designers everyday of the week are coming up with ideas to increase density and build more housing.  But each is a drop in the ocean and London’s housing gap keeps getting bigger and bigger.  The fallacy is one of com position.  Every rooftop could be built on. every social housing estate redeveloped etc.  But each of these has a cost and to universalize them would require massive state spending and massive state interference with property rights, as well as an unfeasible number of compulsory purchase lawyers and court dates to take up the 100s of thousands of affected property rights.  If it was going to happen it already would have, and already is happening to the maximum extent given current resources.

If you want to show extra capacity you need to show strategic design solutions that are deliverable, on sites that are suitable and viable.  If you cant show this then its fantasy stuff.  Continuing to peddle such thinking is institutionalizing the problem, a lack of strategic planning to effect change that will deliver new units in suitable numbers, thinking a quick design fix here and thee will solve the problem.  It wont we have tried that and had 40 years of failure.  So lets try something else we know works in every growing city in the world, large scale new housing zoning and delivery – there is no other answer.


Its PAG II – They are the Main Cause of Slow Local Plans – So Why let them Wreck them Further?

Oh No John Rhodes and John Howells MP are back 

Planning Minister Brandon Lewis today (15 September 2015) launched a new group of experts to help streamline the local plan-making process.

The 8-strong panel will consider how it can be simplified with the aim of slashing the amount of time it takes for local authorities to get them in place.

This will provide greater certainty to communities regarding plans for new homes and infrastructure in their area, while speeding up the planning process so developers can get on site quicker.

Members include:

  • Chair John Rhodes of planning consultants Quod
  • Adrian Penfold from developers British Land
  • Richard Harwood QC from legal firm 39 Essex Chambers
  • Councillor Toby Elliott from Swindon Borough Council
  • Keith Holland, a retired Senior Planning Inspector
  • Liz Peace, formerly of the British Property Federation
  • John Howell MP, member for Henley
  • Derek Stebbing, Local Authority Plans Manager for Chelmsford City Council

Planning Minister Brandon Lewis said:

Our planning reforms have caught the imagination of communities across the country, allowing them to bring forward developments that are a real benefit to local people.

However, while many have seized this opportunity, it’s fair to say the process of getting Local Plans in place can sometimes be lengthy and complicated.

That’s why we’ve brought together this panel of experts to help look at ways to streamline the process. Their first-class advice will help councils push on and deliver the homes and infrastructure that their communities need.

So lets get this clear

  • The NPPF with its ‘build what you like where you like’ mantra gave a huge incentive for developers and landowners to throw the book at emerging plans because you no longer get a presumption in favour on non allocated sites.
  • The NPPF system in abolishing regional plans provided no clear framework for allocating overspill need, enormously slowing down plans due to duty to cooperate challenges

Lets look at the evidence.  The rate of plan adoption has dramatically slowed down since teh NPPF is in place.  Now plans even adopted are getting outof date more quickly than new plans meeting need in full are coming forward.  In other words the NPPF had the opposite effect as to what was intended.  Rather than scaring LPAs into producing plans more quickly it has complicated the process so much – especially with teh lever arch folders of caselaw – than plan making has slowed to a halt.

All of this is unequivocal and supported by the evidence.  How else does John Rhodes and John Howells MP explain how the NPPF had the opposite effect on plan making they predicted?  If the other panel makers cant get a good answer from them at thefirst meeting they should both resign and let real experts take over.

When and How PQE/Helicopter Money can Lower Inflation

The Debate

I can’t resist a challenge.  As part of the ongoing debate on ‘people’s QE’/Corbynomics being used to finance government investment there was a guest article on Coppola Comment, describing it as ‘snake oil’, by Paddy CarterThe gist of the article being that an inflation targeting central bank would automatically offset any state (helicopter) money creation.  This struck me as a curious argument as in any such regime the central bank would operate under a different policy rule, and more importantly the author had assumed rather than demonstrated the key issue – whether it would be inflationary.  It seemed to me that if the new money was purely spent on investment in productivity improvements then it would not be inflationary but deflationary.  I tweeted this, there was some response on twitter including from Richard Murphy, and from Francis Coppola, challenging me to ‘math it up’.

I don’t think this is too shocking a position whatever school you follow in modern economics, almost all of which would disagree with the crude monetarist doctrine that inflation is due to ‘too much money chasing too few goods’  – a doctrine which neglects the prime importance of where the money goes to and where it is spent.  Even the most NK orthodox such as a corridor sharer with Tony Yates would agree that if consumers expectations as to the price level were depressed because of investment which increases capital intensity and increases productivity, thereby increasing the amount of goods being chased by money, then they would have to agree, that if carefully targeted, that state money creation would be, at the very least over the medium term, deflationary.

Francis is in lucky in that I had already made a start – following a challenge from Dirk Bessemer – on formalizing a model of state money creation.  They key issue here is mechanical production of money is easy – you print it or credit an electronic account.  What is harder (to paraphrase Minsky) to explain is why that unit of account has value and what the relationship is between the volume of the unit of account and the price of goods and services.  Holding and using different state currencies is not costless – using some will incur liabilities such as tax as well as exchange loss.  So understanding how and why a portfolio holding is established in a currency cannot be done so without understanding the corresponding counterbalancing ‘liquidity services’ that the holding grants to the portfolio holder.  Central amongst these is the ability to consume, trade or invest in innovative goods and services being produced in that currency area.  It is not the monopoly power of money creation by the state by itself that creates seignorage – that is a necessary but not sufficient condition – but the ability to create revenue because of the arbitrage between the ability of a monopoly currency issuer to issue the unit of account at zero production cost and the revenue to be obtained from investing in new goods and services priced in jurisdiction that unit of account.  So providing new money is thoroughly ‘backed’ by these goods and services creation of that money is not inflationary; indeed it can be deflationary.

What follows is an approach which attempts a synthesis of a number of streams of monetary thinking – such as Cartelism, circuit theory, MMT, the backing theory of money (the inverse of monetarism) and Keynesian monetary theory – but is none of those.  However whatever your background, even DGSE and rational expectations, what I am saying is not so shocking if you think about it.


The Base Monetary Model – Tax and Spending in Balance

A golden rule is that all monetary models need to be expressed in double entry terms and meet the fundamental equation of accounting.  That is assets = equity + liabilities.  Anything else truly is theoretical snake oil.  There are those who argue this doesn’t apply to central bank money creation.  That these can create money ex nilhlio without backing by equity – quite unlike private banks.  Those who argue this are making a fundamental error and making the extraordinary claim that the most fundamental equation in economics is not universal.  An extraordinary claim requiring an extraordinary explanation.   Of course I could set up the central bank of Pimlico (after declaring independence) tomorrow, but unless its issuance of units of account is ‘backed’ like all new monies this would just be so and so  much valueless paper.

The first of these is a pure monetary steady state model of state money creation.

Here a central bank issue new state money to the state to spend, which is then spent in the private sector.  This is exactly counterbalanced by the state issuing a tax demand to the private sector of exactly the same amount and the tax and spending exactly cancel each other out.

This is the simplest possible model of state money creation and taxation. It assumes no regulatory constraints- as for example in the treaty of Lisbon – on state money creation.  More realistic models can be constructed on the back of this base simple model – for example with a debt management office issuing gilts and bonds.  In balance the net effect is the same – tax balances spending and there is no overall effect on the price level of state activities.  This has one enormous simplifying assumption.  All spending in the economy is revue only – no capital spending.

This simple model has one striking feature – the State spends money into existence and taxation destroys it.  This seems counterintuitive – which simply confirms the power of this circuitist doctrine.  To think of wealth as a ‘hoard’ which you get by sitting on it – what I call the Smaug doctrine – is the powerful fallacy in all of economics.  Indeed Adam smith based on his career on falsifying a version of it and created modern economics as we know it in the process.  It is possible to accumulate wealth by sitting on it but never to create it.  New wealth, and the money which creates new wealth, is always and everywhere spent into existence.  Looking it in terms of assets and liabilities, in terms of modern money, this is undeniable.  The mistake people make is to confuse the physical token of money, coins or cash, with the underlying circuit of accounting transactions.  It is not the token which as value – look at a confederate note – but the participation of that token in the monetary circuit.  All that is being recycled when you respend a coin or cash is the token – it is the ability of the state to drain money reserved to neutralize the aggregate demand impact of new money creation –  which maintains the face value of that note.


The Base Physical Model – Taxing a Surplus

Now the simplest possible physical model of taxation.  A one good model, such as corn.

There is a surplus of corn so that physical input of C produces C’.

This surplus can be taken as rent by the landowner.  However imagine in the model a state which imposes a tax liability on the farmer.  The farmer now either has to increase productivity in order not to starve or the landowner has to reduce their rent to maintain any surplus.

Here we can see tax for what it is – a form of economic rent – by a factor holder – in this case the state – in that one critical but neglected factor of production is money.  Money historically often being forced into circulation by states imposing debts – tax liabilities.

The Base Growth Model – Labour Saving Technology

Finally we shall consider the simplest possible economic growth model.

Again we have one physical input and one physical output.  In the base case there is no fixed capital.  There is a small surplus.

An innovation – in the form of fixed capital promises to raise the productivity of output by a not insignificant amount.  Creating this innovation requires dedication of labour to create the fixed capital, the new good, rather than the new one.  This will take a number of months and a certain amount of labour.  This is an essence a very classical model of fixed capital formation.

Here there is a very clear mathematical relationship between the increase in the rate of productivity of the machine and the amount and length of time it takes in forgone surplus in the original process.

The present value of the investment is found from the perpetuity formula FV (future value) / (1+r) where r is the discount rate (cost of investment} there is a mathematical relational ship between the rate of innovation and the rate of interest where investment is viable, space and the need to avoid a too technical explanation means this is better discussed in detail elsewhere.

Put most simply however In those cases where the interest rate islower than the increase in the rate of physical surplus from the innovation there will be a growth in credit until the excess profits from the innovation are eaten away back to the general rate of profitability.

If some of the psychical surplus is further invested we get compound growth.


Pulling the three models together

The creation of an innovation allows the capitalist who exploits it to charge a Schumpeterian rent to prices and earn super profits.  The demand for the good creates a demand for the currency in which the good is produced from consumers, as well as from investors seeking a slice of the action.  This creates the potential for seignorage in that currency.

If the units of account does not expand then after the innovation that monetary base remains fixed but the amount of goods increases.  This deflates prices.  This is not necessarily a bad thing for the consumer.  However for investors each % fall in real prices is an additional % in the rate of surplus needed for an investment to make a profit.   Why invest money if by sitting on it you can buy more good in the future?  This is the curse of innovation with a fixed peg- like the gold standard.  A burst oi innovation eventually completely loses steam as the fall in prices caused by the growth is eaten away.  Eventually we get the growth runs out – a business cycle.  Credit taken out on the assumption that growth will continue may be unpayable.

There is a solution.  If the issuer of the unit of account expands the monetary base by precisely the amount of the rate of increase of the surplus then profits don’t fall.  Indeed there is a market mechanism to do so.  As a state can issue new money at zero cost then there is a market incentive for it to do so to earn the seignorage from investing it in the new technique.  Then it earns a piece of the action.  Providing the rate of increase in new money precisely equals the rate of increase in the surplus, the new money will precisely counteract the rate of deflation caused by the economic growth.  It is entirely possible for the state to create new money and there to be deflation if the rate of investment is less than the rate of growth.

An objection might be raised as why the state should be investing, the market will chose the optimum investment globally.  Globally is the issue.  Capital from innovation need not flow back into investment in that sovereign currency area, it can go anywhere and might not benefit residents of the area at all.  Whereas state money uniquely must first be spent in the sovereign currency area to exist at all.

Policy Implications

This discussion implies a golden rule.  If net state money creation is solely used to invest in productivity improvements, and at a rate less than the discounted rate of productivity improvement,  it will not be deflationary.

The problem is it is very tempting for any government to spend state money on revenue, paying down old debt or on productivity reducing investments (arguably healthcare where an increase in spending led famously to a reduction in productivity under Blair).  If state money creation is simply used to prop up state revenues and pay normal bills there is a risk of inflation and in the worst cases hyperinflation.

The solution is to recast the role of an independent central bank.  Instead of running an inflation or nominal GDP rule it runs an investment rule, creating money and spending it on projects at a rate and in areas which it considers will maximize the rate of economic growth.  The central Bank again becomes the state investment bank – its historical role.    With such iron discipline Corbynomics would work in normal times not just times of crisis when helicopter money is gradually becoming accepted as a useful tool.

There are many examples of investments which would boost productivity.  Notably solving the acute shortage of housing in this country, investing in energy efficiency, training, rail improvements etc.  This is not to say that there are other useful things for the state to spend on, but these need to come from the results of growth.

There is a problem of timing. A project that might boost productivity in 5 or ten years will be boosting aggregate demand now and if there are some goods in the investment that temporarily in short supply these might add to inflation. The solution is to tax the superprofits and rents/or wages of those that get this boost readjusting aggregate demand.   If expectations get out of kilter and consumers don’t adjust their spending and savings to account for future wealth and falling prices as opposed to temporary raised incomes and rising prices then temporary increases in consumption taxes may need to form part of this policy package.


Hammersmith Conservative Councillor wants to knock down Listed Buildings

Harry Phibbs in Conhome – stark raving bonkers imposing his narrow aesthetic on everyone else irrespective of the law – cultural fascism in other words.  I dont mince my words as only fascists wish to knock down buildings with which they have an ideological disagreement with and then distort their aesthetic to match – read any book by Roger Scruton for example.

The spirit of localism should mean that if local residents and their elected councillors wish to get rid of a hideous tower block spoiling the skyline they should be able to do so. However in some cases it is not possible because a block has been listed by English Heritage (now renamed Historic England).

There has been much rejoicing over the decision not to list the brutalist Robin Hood Gardens in Poplar – it can now be knocked down.

But what of those eyesores that are listed? For instance the Park Hill flats in Sheffield (right) or the Trellick Tower in Kensington (left). Or Byker Wall in Newcastle (below right) or Keeling House in Tower Hamlets (bottom left)).

Trellick-TowerEnglish Heritage is supposed to:

“Promote public understanding and enjoyment of the historic environment.”

It is hard to see how forcing the retention of eyesores (often with hefty repair bills) fits in with that brief. An organisation that should be trusted as an ally of beauty and tradition has betrayed that trust.

Listing buildings is not their only role. But for them to exercise such staggering poor judgement does cast doubt about their credibility more widely.  For example they boast in their report for last year:

“We gave constructive conservation advice on 21,942 planning cases this year, focusing our advice on preserving the best of the past whilst exploring opportunities for positive and creative change. 

“At Girton College, Cambridge, a new wing comprising 50 en-suite bedrooms opened and the College’s listed swimming pool was refurbished. This successful modern intervention received a RIBA regional award in 2014.”

The Girton College development looks awful – no surprise that RIBA gave it a prize.

bykerwallThis is a Quango which gets £100 million of taxpayers money a year – via the Department for Culture Media and Sport. But how accountable is it? Supposing, for instance, it was proposed to delist certain buildings (such as some of those illustrated here) in order that they could be demolised? What is the mechanism for that review?

keelinghouseA spokesman tells me:

“Once a building is listed. It stays listed.”

The spokesman later elaborated:

“Anyone can apply for a building to be de-listed and they can do that through an online application form. All buildings are listed based on their architectural and historical importance. To get a building de-listed, the applicant needs to prove that what made that building “listable” is no longer valid. It may be a place has been damaged and has lost the elements of the building that made it eligible for listing in the first place. Or it may be that the building has, for example, been wrongly attributed to an architect and if they can demonstrate our original research was wrong, it would also be considered for de-listing.”

That is unsatisfactory. If the decision was quite mad in the first place it should be ditched – even if the facts have not changed.

Osborne’s ‘Any Village in England has a freedom to expand’ doctrine

In case you missed it in the rural productivity plan, any village implies in Green Belt as well naturally.

The government will increase the availability of housing in rural areas, allowing our rural towns and villages to thrive, whilst protecting the Green Belt and countryside. This will include a significant contribution to the 200,000 ‘Starter Homes’, to be offered at a 20% discount for first-time buyers under the age of 40, that the government is committed to delivering this Parliament. Through the right combination of measures, the government wants to ensure that any village in England has the freedom to expand in an incremental way, subject to local agreement. In addition to carrying out the review of planning constraints in rural areas [business pd rights] mentioned above, the government will:

• Ensure local authorities put local plans in place for housing according to agreed deadlines and require them to plan proactively for the delivery of Starter Homes. The government will also bring forward proposals to speed up the process of implementing or amending a plan.

• Help our villages to thrive by making it easier for them to establish a neighbourhood plan and allocate land for new homes, including through the use of rural exception sites to deliver Starter Homes.

• Review the current threshold for agricultural buildings to convert to residential buildings.

• Introduce a dispute resolution mechanism for section 106 agreements, to speed up negotiations and allow housing starts to proceed more quickly

How a Chinese Equity Black Monday Transmits to a Global Money Supply Collapse

China’s stock markets are having a really bad day. A black Monday, down 8.45%, with knock on falls in closely intertwined markets such as Japan and Australia- and now spreading globally.

There are still those that doubt whether a stock market collapse has an impact on ‘real’ economies – so it is worth spelling out precisely the transmission mechanism via the banking system.

Stock market bubbles are fulled on speculation – on what Guzman and Stiglitz (2015) call tellingly ‘pseudo wealth’.  It is the collapse in that pseudo wealth that causes aggregate demand collapse in the wider economy.

The transmission mechanism is through the banking system, principally through the collapse in the perceived real value of equities and company assets held as security on loans.  Collateral enables banks to leverage their ability to lend – their ‘lending power’.  Banks are not passive intermediaries they can create money at the stroke of a pen, but not without limit.  They need existing assets (equity) and then leverage those assets depending on the collateral lenders provide and future perceived income streams from lending.

When perceived future revenue streams provide to be pseudo-wealth then this has a strong feedback loop on the ability of banks to lend.  Non performing loans increase and banks can leverage less with less collateral to bank their existing loans books.  The ability of banks to lend – their lending power – their ‘charter value’ as it is known collapses.  From levering we go to deleveraging and the familiar debt deflationary cycle described famously by Fisher and elaborated by Minksy, Steve Keen and others.

In good times banks expand the money supply, but this is not deflationary as the money is destroyed on repayment of loans and if the investment is used to reduce factor inputs it may raise wealth and even deflate prices increasing real wealth.  If however the loans are spend on assets and ‘pseudo wealth’ the repayment of debts in a downturn becomes purely deflationary not backed by increases in productivity and we get a depressionary cycle.

This is why an equity collapse, in a highly leveraged economy, can have non linear impacts on money supply and growth.  In China a collapse in formal bank lending will also have a knock on impact on shadow banking because of the carry trade to less well regulated shadow banking.

Can the global economy cope with a trillion dollars knocked off equities in one day? What matters though it how leveraged that equity is.  The answer is straightforward; it is highly leveraged and no it can’t.

Their is only one possible response for the Chinese authorities.  Flood the Chinese banks with ‘helicopter money’ to prevent a banking collapse, it that leads to a collapse in the Yuan so be it.  The global response has to be to avoid a ‘currency wars’ response.  This is precisely what was done to the Japanese banking system in the Great Depression and worked well compared to the dramatic austerity in Europe for example in the same period.

Their would be some irony then if China and its closely interlocked economies saw their savior in an economic measure derided as ‘Corbynomics‘.

Who Will Take Over from Anchorman at DCLG? (They wont be an LG Chief Planner)

With the sad news (as a lonely voice of sanity at DCLG) that Chief Planner Steve Quartermain is to move on to Pins who will take over?

It used to be the case that the chief planner at Brum or Newcastle or wherever would step into such a job.

Very very unlikely and inadvisable.  Why?  Because as the chancellor has flagged English planning is at the cusp of transformational change to a zoning and subdivision system.  What is needed is an expert at such transformational change.  So even the star planners or managers of planners in England – such as Waheed Nazir , Emma Peters, Fiona Fletcher Smith, Alice Lester or Barra Mac Ruairí, I dont think would get a look in.  If you are a chief planner whose main achievement on your cv is keeping Councillors happy rather than getting houses built don”t even bother asking for an application form.

Far more likely would be a former chief officer at somewhere like Vancouver, Seattle, Abu Dhabi, Melbourne or Singapore, or an associate in firms working in such sectors.  Someone like Brent Toderian, Larry Beasley, Jeffry Ho, Jerome Frost or Anna Reiter (my tip).  The DCLG would really need to dip into its pockets to attract someone of such international calibre though, and in doing so would signal that it valued planning and planners.


Osborn Proposes More Rural Planning Reforms

In the telegraph – with Liz Truss – all re-announcements

More and more of us are moving from city to countryside. According to the latest Government figures, predominantly rural areas in England are experiencing net internal inward migration of more than 60,000 a year. It’s a social trend that makes Britain almost unique among developed economies, which see mostly rural to urban migration. This Government is determined to support the millions that already choose a rural life and those that are joining them.

…we’ll look at planning and regulatory constraints facing rural businesses. In a recent survey of rural businesses the main barrier to growth that most identified was planning restrictions. So for a start, we’ll review rules around agricultural buildings such as barns to allow rural businesses to expand more easily.

…And if we are going to attract and maintain a dynamic workforce, we need to make it easier for people to stay in their rural communities and for newcomers to settle there too. We’ll always want to protect our green belt and beautiful natural environments, but the lack of housing in rural areas is a scandal. Those living in villages want to see them thrive, want to maintain enough housing for their children to live in and want the local shop, school and village services to flourish. So we will reform planning laws, making it easier for villages to establish their own neighbourhood plan and allocate land for a small number of new homes.