The Centre for Policy Studies responds to Prime Minister’s speech on a New Deal for Britain:
On increasing investment, Nick King, CPS Head of Business Policy, said:
“As we recover from the coronavirus crisis it is important that the Government refocuses on increasing investment across the UK. After calling for this in our recent report, ‘After the Virus’ and our ‘A Rising Tide’ report last year, we welcome the Prime Minister committing to do just that.
“When it comes to economic performance, our United Kingdom is not as united as it should be. We need to close the gap between the London and the rest and bring about economic growth around the country. In particular we must give the private sector every reason to invest and operate in those parts of our country that need it most.”
On levelling up the regions, Nick King, added:
“We welcome the Prime Minister talking up investment in vocational skills and the further education estate as part of the Government’s efforts to level up the economy, as recommended in our report ‘A Rising Tide’.
“There should be fundamental reform to the Apprenticeship Levy and wider changes to skills and education policy to ensure that the UK has the pipeline of talent available for the industries of the future and has a highly skilled workforce more widely spread throughout the country.”
On housing and planning reform, Alex Morton, CPS Head of Policy, said:
“The CPS has long argued for the urgent need to reform our planning system – as part of a drive to increase housebuilding and home ownership. Building more and better homes is an absolutely vital part of the economic jigsaw, and extremely welcome.
“It was encouraging to see the proposed changes on permitted development rights and recycling commercial space to residential, as proposed in our recent paper with the Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP. However, there is a big problem – the UK housebuilding industry is not just economically and socially vital, but particularly vulnerable to the impact of recession. To realise its ambitions, the Government needs to support small and medium sized builders to keep Britain building – so we hope the support announced in today’s speech is substantially expanded by the Chancellor next week.”
On decarbonising transport, Eamonn Ives, CPS Business Researcher, said:
“One of the few benefits of the Coronavirus lockdown has been the dramatic improvement in air quality. To continue enjoying this unexpected bonus, we must speed up the transition to low-emission vehicles.
“It was welcome to hear the Prime Minister recognise the need to decarbonise transport across the board, and not just focus on cars. As we highlighted in our recent report ‘Driving Change’, hydrogen could help decarbonise those parts of the transport system where question marks remain, like buses, heavy vehicles, and aircraft. Allowing the hydrogen industry to thrive will be critical to meeting Net Zero by 2050, and cleaning up our air immediately.”