May 'to rule out building in green belt'

Reports that Prime Minister Theresa May will today 'rule out building on the green belt' to boost housebuilding feature in today's newspaper round-up.

The Telegraph reports that May will today meet Britain’s biggest developers in Downing Street. It says that chancellor Philip Hammond "is said to be considering plans to build on more green belt land", but adds that May, "who has defended the green belt throughout her premiership, has insisted that green spaces must be preserved".

The Daily Mail says that, at the same meeting, May "is expected to raise the controversial practice of ‘landbanking’, which is blamed for hindering housebuilding as private companies sit on plots that have been granted planning permission". The newspaper quotes a government source saying that May would be "laying down a challenge" to developers over the issue in a "robust but constructive way".

Telegraph columnist Juliet Samuel says that, "if there is one non-Brexit policy area where Theresa May can change Britain for the better, it’s housing". Samuel sets out a series of steps May should take to boost homeownership, including asking "what more can be done to improve the planning system". She says that the "reforms since 2010 do not seem to have gone far enough".

The Telegraph reports that the "UK’s largest shale gas company has hired a new boss ahead of plans to drill ten test wells in the UK despite mounting opposition against the controversial technique." The newspaper says that Ineos has promoted Ron Coyle to the role of chief executive of Ineos Shale "in what the group calls a ‘significant step change’ in Ineos Shale's drive to conquer the UK market".

The Financial Times (subscription required) reports on Birmingham’s bid to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games. The newspaper says that the "UK’s second-largest city believes that staging the games would highlight Birmingham’s transformation after decades of industrial decline".

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