Shadow chancellor set to announce measures to fast track planning for life sciences, battery factories and 5G infrastructure
The shadow chancellor is set to announce plans to speed up ‘critically important infrastructure’.
Rachel Reeves will today use her speech to the Labour conference in Liverpool to lay out plans to amend national policy statements within six months of a Labour government. She will announce a fast-tracked planning process for areas deemed ‘priority growth’ including battery factories, life sciences facilities and 5G infrastructure.
Labour would also hire 300 new planners through raising stamp duty on non-UK residents.
Reeves, speaking to the BBC’s Today programme this morning, said the government is currently not investing in important infrastructure and that would change under Labour.
“Governments around the world from America to Asia to Europe, are seizing these opportunities, whether it’s 5G infrastructure, the energy that’s needed to get us to a low carbon economy, the investment in life sciences…I want those jobs and investment here in Britain, and that’s what my reforms today are all about.”
Reeves will also announce plans to ensure local communities and businesses in areas hosting new infrastructure would “get something back” through incentives such as cheaper energy bills.
She said: “When communities host critical national infrastructure they should get some benefit, including lower bills.” She added that this is happening in other countries and is “best practice around the world”.
She later told the conference; “The Tories would have you believe we can’t build anything any more. In fact, the single biggest obstacle to building infrastructure, to investment and to growth in this country is the Conservative Party itself.
“If the Tories won’t build, if the Tories can’t build, then we will, tackling head-on the obstacles presented by our antiquated planning system.”
Addressing Labour’s plan to fund 300 additional planning officers, RTPI vice-president Lindsey Richards said it was “not enough [but] a start”.
“I think what we need to be thinking about is the building the pipeline of planners,” she said at a conference fringe event on Monday morning.
“We’re talking about immediate action needed for immediate resourcing but then we need to be thinking about short term and then longer term. So it’s around building that pipeline, making sure we’ve got more apprenticeships.”