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Local Planning Authorities: Land for Employment and Industrial Use

Volume 728: debated on Monday 20 February 2023

6. What steps his Department is taking to support the provision of land for employment and industrial use by local planning authorities. (903618)

National planning policy makes it clear that local plans and decisions should help to create the conditions in which businesses can invest, expand and, most importantly, create jobs and life opportunities. We are consulting on how the national planning policy framework could better support these developments, and we welcome contributions to that consultation.

And I welcome my hon. Friend to her new position.

The businesses and jobs of the future will need modern premises from which to operate. In my constituency, Rugby Borough Council recently agreed to review its local plan emphasising the provision of more land for employment to help levelling up and to create jobs and opportunities. What further support and incentives can the Department give local authorities such as Rugby which are seeking to do the right thing and enable our businesses to grow?

I thank my hon. Friend for his kind words. We are delighted to see ambitious local authorities such as Rugby, which he doubtless champions on behalf of his constituents, promoting the development that will help to level up his area. We are therefore creating a new framework to make local plans easier to produce, and they will be given more weight in decision making so that we can create certainty and foster a genuinely plan-led system.

When land is available for urban development, external partners of local authorities often determine the future economic strategy for locations such as my constituency. How is the Department ensuring that there is a focus on a levelling-up agenda that benefits local communities, as opposed to a trickle-down agenda that benefits only the investors’ interests?

The hon. Lady will know that the Government are committed to levelling up areas throughout the country, including her constituency. Working with Homes England, we deliver significant investment funds to enable York and other partners to deliver homes and, more importantly, places that people will want to come to, in order to drive all-important economic growth and level up the country.