Row of new houses in the UK

Levelling Up Committee expresses need for clarity and commitment

The Levelling Up, Housing, and Communities Committee has written a letter to Greg Clark, Levelling Up Secretary, to outline the early findings from their scrutiny of the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill.

In the letter, the committee expressed concern about a lack of detail when considering planning provision, as well as commitment to the government’s aim of delivering 300,00 new homes a year. The committee has also said that, in order to achieve levelling up, appropriate funding needs to be ensured for the areas that need it the most. Areas such as transport, skills training, and digital connectivity must also be focused on to provide a significant contribution to the improvement of communities.

Chair of the Levelling Up, Housing, and Communities Committee, Clive Betts MP, said:

“In its current form, the Bill does little to reassure that levelling up will prove to be more than just a slogan and that we will have meaningful change in local communities across the country. In key areas, it is unclear how the Government intends to drive change and they are yet to commit to the spending that is necessary to level up the country.

“Our inquiry has focused on the planning provisions in the Bill, which can be described as loosely connected proposals to tinker with the current system, hopefully achieving some improvement. It has been difficult to conduct scrutiny due to a lot of the detail of the provisions having not yet been published. We were asked by the Secretary of State to give our view, and our advice is that more information is provided on what the Government’s intentions are, and that the Government states unambiguously that it is not seeking to centralise planning decisions.”

With the committee warning that much of the detail needed would come in secondary legislation, or further consultation, it is warning that many people are likely to be left guessing in regard to the direction that the government want to take the agenda. Lack of detail means that local authorities may be left unsure of whether they are required to meet a target for affordable housing, or whether it is simply a guideline to help them meet the nation’s levelling up goals.

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