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Localis chief executive, Jonathan Werran, said: “As we awake to the new dawn, the political sky is clear, and we can start thinking of the realities of the Labour government power and what it will mean for revitalising place policy on the ground.

“We can certainly look forward to a rebranding and repurposing of the department.  And on the basis that there is stability in the transition from team led by deputy prime minister Angela Rayner, there will be an immediate chance to bed in pre-prepared plans to redefine the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and reintroduce strategic planning, moves which could be a gamechanger for housing supply.

“Significant announcements in this direction might come as early as the King’s Speech set for 17th July.

“On devolution, there will be some mopping up to do in finalizing the devolution deals in train for Lincolnshire, Hull and Lancashire that didn’t get over the line before the general election was called.

“The greater task will be to deliver on the very ambitious constitutional and economic reforms that would among other things, if enacted, see English mayoral combined authorities enjoy parity with the devolved governments in the Council of the Nations and Regions.

“This begs the question as to how soon will the Labour government be able to fill in the gaps in the map and cover the whole of England with a total devolution settlement to harmonise with the new statutory local growth plans, how these mesh with regional ambitions and are to be connected in turn within the overarching ambit of a revived industrial strategy?

“As new Number 10 chief of staff Sue Gray assembles the centralised set of advisers gathering to deliver on the Labour government’s missions,  the need to restore stability to local government finances and staunch the wounds to prevent a further cascade of section 114 notices will be high among her snag list of immediate inheritance problems.

“The manifesto promised a much-desired multi-year financial settlement an end to the tournament bidding for local growth funds that bedevilled the levelling up years and served as an enemy of long-term prudential planning.

“It is unlikely the sequence of fiscal events new chancellor Rachel Reeves will deliver this before December, let along unblock the glut of audits from a system that needs the regulatory equivalent of Dyno Rod.

“This will have to wait until the next full Spending Review that will take us beyond the current fiscal fantasy island of cliff edge spending cuts and perhaps even set out a direction for the promised land that would be a radical reform of business rates.”

Author: Jonathan Werran, Chief Executive Localis.


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