The UK Government has set out its legislative programme for the next Parliament, which includes bills covering planning, building safety, public procurement along with the next stage of construction of HS2.
The key theme of the new legislative programme is Boris Johnson’s ‘Build Back..’ initiatives, with promises to build back better, greener, stronger and safer. Most of the proposed legislation has been delayed due to the Coronavirus pandemic, but the cost of dealing with the virus has added to the need to build back.
The Planning Bill is the Government’s long-discussed drive to help simplify the planning system to help developers and get more homes built, as well as helping with infrastructure. Local authorities will have the ability to designate land according to three bands, each of which has different planning status.
The Building Safety Bill, if it is passed, will enact recommendations from the Hackitt Report, commissioned in the wake of Grenfell. It will establish the Building Safety Regulator and a New Homes Ombudsman and will introduce a levy on developers of tall buildings to pay for the removal of unsafe cladding.
The Procurement Bill has been designed to simplify procurement in the public sector now that the UK has left the European Union and is no longer subject to EU public procurement directives. Its introduction will see it become easier for public bodes to give contracts to preferred suppliers, regardless of price. The UK Government promises that everything will be simpler and more transparent than is currently the case.
The High Speed Rail (Crewe-Manchester) Bill will, assuming MPs continue to back the project, provide the powers to build and operate the next stage of the HS2 network from Crewe to Manchester. However, there was no mention of the planned leg to Leeds.
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