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Govt vows greenbelt shake-up and £10bn housing boost

A fresh drive to boost house building will include a £10 billion guarantee scheme and softer planning laws for greenbelts

Vowing to kick start the economy, the government has launched a fresh assault on planning just months after the controversial National Planning Policy Framework came into effect.

The NPPF was rewritten to safeguard greenbelt land following stiff opposition from the National Trust and Council for the Protection of Rural England.

The new measures to support enterprise included a state backed small business bank, £10 billion worth of house building guarantees for housing associations and private sector developers and plans to boost development by shortening planning inquiries and judicial reviews.

Chancellor George Osborne indicated the government would also encourage councils to allow development on greenbelt land if fresh greenbelt land was designated elsewhere.

In an interview on BBC’s Andrew Marr Show,he said: ‘I think we can speed up planning. It is absolutely ludicrous that it takes years to get planning decisions in this country. This country, in the current economic environment, cannot afford to wait years for development.’

Writing in the Daily Mail, prime minister David Cameron said: ‘A key part of recovery is building the houses our people need, but a familiar cry goes up: “Yes, we want more housing; but no to every development – and not in my back yard.”

‘The nations we’re competing against don’t stand for this kind of paralysis and neither must we.’

He added: ‘Frankly, I am frustrated by the hoops you have to jump through to get anything done – and I come back to Parliament more determined than ever to cut through the dither that holds this country back.

‘That’s why I wasn’t prepared to allow the debate on House of Lords reform to crowd out the parliamentary timetable. Instead, we will return this week with new Government Bills for economic development.’

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