Industrial strategy 'fails to join up with housing'

The government's industrial strategy fails to link up with other strategies for housing and the environment and is too centralised in its thinking, the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) has said.

New homes: industrial strategy fails to link up with housing strategy, RTPI says (pic: Jon Jordan)
New homes: industrial strategy fails to link up with housing strategy, RTPI says (pic: Jon Jordan)

A consultation on the government’s industrial strategy green paper closed earlier this week.

The green paper, published in January by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), said that the Housing White Paper - published the following month - would "seek to ensure housing supply is more responsive to changing patterns of demand, and flexes as the industrial strategy takes effect".

But in its response to the consultation, the RTPI called for "greater clarity" on how the emerging strategy is being connected to other UK government strategies.

The RTPI’s response points out that the Department for Communities and Local Government has recently published its Housing White Paper, "which has clear relevance for the UK’s industrial strategy, and requires a lot from it as well".

It says that the Housing White Paper focuses on the importance of developing construction skills, but adds that, "despite having a section on skills in the industrial strategy, construction is not drawn out as a priority and in fact is not mentioned".

The RTPI’s response also points out that the strategy’s aim of encouraging growth across England as a whole "could have implications for changing demand for homes".

"The need to move south for rewarding jobs could be reduced," the RTPI says. "It is not clear how the government intends to measure whether this aim of the Industrial Strategy is working, and what its impact on housing demand might be over time."

The RTPI’s consultation response welcomes the government’s intention to take more coordinated and intentional approach to economic growth, but adds that the strategy’s introduction and foreword make no reference to the "critical environmental context of an environmental strategy, and yet with leaving the EU the environment will come under new focus".

It adds that the strategy needs to take a less centralised approach in areas like research, the designation of favoured industrial sectors and funding decisions.

RTPI head of policy Richard Blyth said: "The government has just launched a Housing White Paper, but construction skills is not drawn out as a priority in the industrial strategy. This is just one example that shows the need for much greater clarity on how the strategy will work with other strategies, and how it can take advantage of the opportunities they pose."

In its response to the consultation, the Institute of Economic Development calls for a higher level of expenditure to be allocated to UK infrastructure.

It adds: "Infrastructure should not be confined to a discussion about transport for the workforce, but also utility provision, digital connectivity and freight movement."

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in

Join the conversation with PlanningResource on social media

Follow Us:
Planning Jobs