Cooper fears Labour backlash at controversial proposals

The government is delaying the publication of its Planning White Paper because of fears that it will fuel the anti-Labour backlash at May’s council elections.

Yvette Cooper

Building has learnt that the white paper, which was due to be published following this week’s Budget, has been shelved until after the local council elections on May 3rd.

Planning minister Yvette Cooper has put the paper on the back burner because she is worried that the Tories will seize on its controversial proposals to attack Labour, which already faces the prospect of heavy losses in the 300 English councils where elections are being held.

The white paper is due to outline the government’s response to Bank of England economist Kate Barker’s review of land use planning, which was published last November.

The government had been working on a late March deadline, partly because Tony Blair was keen to see the paper published before he steps down as prime minister, which is due to be announced after the local polls.

Argent chief executive Roger Madelin said: "It’s complicated stuff and people want to take time to take all the information in. It could be a good thing because some of the consultation responses have recently been submitted. It [the deadline] always seemed to be a bit too tight."