UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Prime Minister announces £5bn 'New Deal' economic recovery plan: Reactions

Today the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced plans for a multi-billion pound economic recovery initiative in the wake of COVID-19.

The PM unveiled a £5bn government funding package to mitigate what he called the “economic aftershock” which will follow the coronavirus crisis.

Businesses and organisations across the country have reacted to the news.

Jonathan Walker, assistant director of policy, North East England Chamber of Commerce

“We have consistently told Government that recovery in the North East must be built on principles of community, fairness, sustainability and opportunity; themes that were all covered in the Prime Minister’s speech.

“Boris Johnson said all the right things when it comes to addressing the gaps between the different parts of the country and to ‘levelling up’ regions like the North East.  However, with the welcome exception of dualling the A1, for which we have campaigned long and hard, there was very little detail. 

 “If the government wants to boost business confidence they need to move on quickly from big picture rhetoric. 

“There has to be precise information as to how, and most importantly when, these policies and measures will be delivered. Otherwise businesses would be entitled to feel as if they have heard this all before.”

Johnny Caddick, director of Caddick Developments

“We welcome today’s much needed steps toward a review of the planning system, and a renewed focus on the property sector as an important part of our country’s economic recovery. As a business focussing both on the provision of residential and commercial projects, we’ve seen the importance of a joined-up approach at close quarters.

“Reforming planning systems to encourage housebuilding in locations where people want to live, will be vital in our post-COVID-19 landscape. The £12bn package announced to support affordable housebuilding is a welcome step, and a long overdue marker for the housing sector.

“Meanwhile, the pressures put on the retail sector in recent months has highlighted the need for a flexible and highly agile approach when developing their support networks.

“We hope that further reform of the planning system will enable the creation of efficient and well-placed logistics hubs which are a vital part of our collective economic success, allowing high-streets to thrive and freeing up stockholding space to be better used for residential premises in town and city centre locations.

“It’s right that the government has identified the private sector as a route to encouraging economic growth, and it’s a challenge we’re ready to face.”

Nic Smith, managing director of Commercial Maintenance Services (CMS) UK Limited

“CMS works at a national level across a range of sectors and I would like to offer our expertise to support the government achieve these projects in record time.

“If the government is to reverse the effects of many years of austerity and deliver an economic stimulus, then it must work alongside the private sector to ensure these benefits are swiftly realised.”

Roger Tustain, managing director of Nexus Planning

“The difficulty with governmental attempts to overhaul the planning system is that with each major reform (the last being 2012 with the abolition of Regional Planning), thought rarely goes into the practical implications of delivering the system quickly.

“Major changes and new strategies will take time to plan if they’re to be done properly – and this could lead to procrastination at a local level which impacts on housing delivery. The irony is that radical change to the planning system could in the short-medium term impact on delivering government housing growth objectives.

“Before we change the technical side of the system itself (again), it’d be better to focus on significantly enhancing public sector resourcing in strategic planning – ‘freeing the planner’ from minor/domestic applications, which accounts for a huge number of all applications and can get overly politicised.

“Local Authority Planning needs to be visionary and proactive at both political and officer level. At present, things tend to be far too reactive and under-resourced.”

More to follow.

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