Industrial strategy pledges 'strategic approach to planning housing and infrastructure'

The government says it will support greater collaboration between councils and a 'more strategic approach to planning housing and infrastructure', as part of its new industrial strategy.

Business secretary Greg Clark
Business secretary Greg Clark

The strategy - Building a Britain Fit for the Future - says housing is "vital to the economic success of our cities and regions".

It says the government will support "places with ambitious and innovative plans to build additional homes where they are needed, and which will support wider economic growth".

"We want to support greater collaboration between councils, a more strategic approach to planning housing and infrastructure, more innovation and high-quality design in new homes and creating the right conditions for new private investment," the strategy says.

Following a report from the government's infrastructure adviser, the National Infrastructure Commission, on new homes in the Cambridge-Milton Keynes-Oxford corridor, the strategy says the government is in discussions with other places over similar housing deals.

These include Greater Manchester, Leeds, the West Midlands and the west of England, it says.

The industrial strategy, launched by business secretary Greg Clark today, also announces the establishment of a review of local enterprise partnerships (LEPs).

The government says it remains "firmly committed" to LEPs, but recognises that "feedback suggests that their performance has varied".

LEPs were set up by the Coalition government in 2010 following the abolition of the regional development agencies.

Their remit is to drive local economic growth, but the industrial strategy says the forthcoming review will look at their roles and responsibilities.

It will also "bring forward reforms to leadership, governance, accountability, financial reporting and geographical boundaries" of LEPs, the strategy says.

The review will "set out a more clearly defined set of activities and objectives" for partnerships early in the new year. 

"We will agree and implement appropriate structures for holding LEPs to account," the strategy says. "We will work with LEPs to review overlapping geographies and ensure people are clear as to who is responsible for driving growth in their area."

The strategy adds that the government will make additional financial resources available to LEPs "that demonstrate ambitious levels of reform following the review".

The government has also announced in the strategy that new local industrial strategies (LISs) will be prepared for each area, to identify action needed to boost productivity, earning power and competitiveness.

"We will agree the first LISs by March 2019," the strategy says. "We will prioritise areas with the potential to drive wider regional growth, focusing on clusters of expertise and centres of economic activity."

Places in England with a mayoral combined authority will have a single LIS led by the mayor and supported by LEPs, the strategy says. For parts of the country without a mayor, the strategy will be led by the LEP, it adds.

 


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