Fresh call for Budget housebuilding boost

A call from former Tory leader and foreign secretary William Hague for the Autumn Budget to include plans deliver a 'serious increase in housebuilding' features in today's newspaper round-up.

Writing in the Telegraph, Hague says that chancellor Philip Hammond should "present a series of clear themes, and the first of those should be housing". Among possible measures, Hague calls for "a streamlining of planning decisions, major changes in regulations to permit smaller apartments [and] more rapid sales of government land".

A letter to the Times (subscription required) from property developer Sir Stuart Lipton calls for green belt rules to be relaxed. He writes: "Green belt land should be designated primary, secondary and tertiary. Tertiary green belt would be permitted to be developed. Monies from the sale of tertiary green belt should be devoted to the enhancement of primary and secondary green belt land and to the provision of more public parks."

The Times (subscription required) reports that "pollution levels in many of Britain’s big towns and cities are so high that they are breaching global safety limits, according to a new report." The newspaper says that research into the health effects of climate change, published today in The Lancet, found that Glasgow, Leeds and Birmingham are rated as "heavily polluted" and many smaller towns and cities such as Scunthorpe, Eastbourne, Oxford and Leamington Spa are also breaching World Health Organisation limits.

The Guardian reports that High Speed Two "has been accused of cutting costs on the northern leg of its route in order to make up for overspending in the south, after it was revealed that only 2 per cent of the Yorkshire line is to be built in tunnels, compared with nearly 30 per cent of its track between London and Birmingham".

London’s Evening Standard reports that "the first new world-class film studio in London in a quarter of a century could be under construction in the East End within a year". The newspaper says that the scheme is earmarked for a site at Dagenham and investors, entrepreneurs and businesses have now been invited to back the plans.

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