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Chancellor's conference call targets houses and planning

Gordon Brown has promised to help communites flourish by streamlining the planning system and by building thousands of affordable new homes.

Speaking at the Labour conference in Brighton on Monday, the chancellor also vowed to speed up planning applications in a bid to encourage new businesses.

'Through stability, tax incentives and infrastructure, and by cutting red tape and planning delays, we want to see, in every community, enterprise flourish, ' he told assembled delegates.

'John Prescott and I plan to do more to ensure that when local councils become ambassadors for new business creation and support schools and colleges promoting enterprise, councils get the benefit of new business - not just in new jobs but the benefit of the new business-rates income that can pay for better local services.' Brown's keynote speech echoed that of deputy prime minister Prescott, who pledged to help first-time buyers on to the property ladder by building 10,000 homes - each costing less than £60,000.

'Because affordable housing is the key to personal prosperity for millions, we will implement the Barker Review with new plans to bring homes within reach of first-time buyers, including expanding affordable housing for key workers in our public services, ' Brown added.

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