President puts in appearance at Labour Party conference

RTPI president Jim Claydon took part in a very successful fringe event run by the Fabian Society at last week's Labour Party conference in Bournemouth.

He joined communities secretary Hazel Blears on a panel at Putting Communities in Control. This event looked at what is really meant by place-making and sought to sharpen the vision of the communities we hope to create and the best way to do so. The RTPI again enhanced planners' reputation with key opinion-formers.

In his first party conference speech as prime minister, Gordon Brown put housing and the environment at the top of the agenda. He acknowledged the difficulties facing first-time buyers and said he wants "good homes to rent and buy for the British people". This was accompanied by the announcement of a 50 per cent increase in funding for social housing, with investment for affordable and social homes reaching £8 billion. He urged housing associations and councils to support shared equity schemes for first-time buyers and build more social rented homes to reduce overcrowding. After the positive response to government eco-town proposals, he also announced that the number of such projects will be increased from five to ten.

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