The Budget 2016

The Chancellor opened by stating that the 2016 Budget focuses on putting the next generation first.

“In uncertain times and against a deteriorating global economic outlook, this Budget delivers security for working people. It takes the next bold steps in the government’s long-term economic plan. It reduces the deficit, achieves a surplus and makes the reforms needed so Britain is fit for the future.”

The UK is forecast to grow faster than any other G7 economy this year, with employment at record highs, but with productivity growth weaker than forecast. This Budget was therefore presented as setting out long-term solutions to long-term problems to support the savings of the next generation.

The Chancellor predicts GDP growth to be:

  • 2.0% in 2016,
  • rising to 2.2% in 2017,
  • and 2.1% in 2018.

Housing and Planning

Garden villages and towns – To support areas that want to establish garden villages the government will:

  • provide capacity support for Local Authorities;
  • introduce new legislation that will speed up and simplify the process for delivering new settlements;
  • announce planning incentives to support areas seeking to bring forward new settlements, in return for commitments to significant housing delivery.

Moving to a more zonal planning system – The government will bring forward measures to enable a more zonal and ‘red line’ planning system.

Speeding up the process for assessing housing need – The government intends to accelerate the preparation and adoption of Local Plans. The government welcomes the report by the local plans expert group and will consult on the recommendations.

Local Plans – Following the ongoing consultation on the delivery of Local Plans by 2017, the government will set out later this year details of measures to encourage the production of Local Plans. As recommended by the Local Plans Expert Group report, which is published today, the government will also look at the scope to reduce the weight of outdated plans in decision-making. The government will consult on the other recommendations made by the Group until 27 April 2016.

‘Building Up’ – Following the consultation on building up in London and to help increase densities on brownfield land and reduce the need to ‘build out’, the government will consult with city regions on extending similar powers as part of devolution deals.

Streamlining the use of planning conditions – To minimise delays caused by the use of planning conditions the government intends to:

  • legislate to ensure that pre-commencement planning conditions can only be used with the agreement of the developer;
  • review the process of deemed discharge for conditions, to ensure it is effective and its use maximised.

Transparency of the land market – The government will consult on proposals to increase transparency in the property market, including by improving the visibility of information relating to options to purchase or lease land.

Secretary of State planning decisions – The government will set statutory 3 month deadlines for Secretary of State decisions on called-in applications and recovered appeals to prevent time-delays on decisions on infrastructure, housing and regeneration projects.

Stations regeneration – The Homes and Communities Agency will work in partnership with Network Rail and Local Authorities to bring forward land around stations for housing, commercial development and regeneration, and will announce proposals for specific sites shortly.

Compulsory Purchase Order reforms – The government will consult on a second wave of Compulsory Purchase Order reforms with the objective of making the Compulsory Purchase Order process clearer, fairer and quicker.

Private Rented Sector (PRS) Guarantee – The government will extend the PRS guarantee scheme until December 2017 to encourage long term institutional investment in the private rented sector.

Starter Homes – The government will launch the Starter Homes Land Fund prospectus today. This prospectus invites Local Authorities to access the £1.2 billion of funding to remediate brownfield land to deliver Starter Homes.

Investment in low-cost homeownership – The government will explore options for encouraging private investment in low-cost homeownership, including the scope to use guarantees.

Help to Buy: Shared Ownership – The government will launch the Help to Buy: Shared Ownership Prospectus in April. The prospectus will invite private developers to come forward and bid for funding to build Shared Ownership homes.

Local Authority land – Local Authorities will collaborate with central government on a local government land ambition, working with their partners to release land with capacity for at least 160,000 homes, helping to support the government’s policy of regenerating council housing estates. The government will continue to work with the sector to look for opportunities to go further, with a view to raising the ambition.

Brent Cross – The government has approved the full business case for a new Thameslink station at Brent Cross.

Transport and Infrastructure

Roads Investment Strategy 2 – The government is launching the process for setting the Second Roads Investment Strategy, which will determine road investment plans for the period from 2020-21 to 2024-25.

Large major transport projects – The government will provide £151 million to fund new river crossings at both Lowestoft and Ipswich (subject to final business case approval), and is now inviting further bids for the £475 million Local Majors Fund announced at Autumn Statement and Spending Review 2015.

Crossrail 2 – The government will provide £80 million which, together with a contribution from London, will allow Crossrail 2 to proceed to the next stage with the aim of depositing a Hybrid Bill within this Parliament.

Modernising rail stations – The government is announcing the allocation of £16 million funding to improve rail station facilities at Market Harborough, St Albans, Redhill, Newbury, High Wycombe, Exeter St Davids, Weston-Super-Mare, and Cheltenham Spa.

Financing London transport infrastructure via land value uplift – The government invites Transport for London to bring forward detailed proposals on how it could capture a proportion of future land value increases around proposed local infrastructure projects funded by the public sector, in order to provide a source of financing to support the construction of such projects.

Outer London Infrastructure Fund – The government will provide £5 million to establish a fund to support smaller local infrastructure projects in outer London boroughs in 2017/18.

National Infrastructure Delivery Plan – The government will shortly publish a National Infrastructure Delivery Plan, setting out details of over £100 billion of public sector investment in infrastructure across this Parliament.

National Infrastructure Pipeline – The government will continue to update the National Infrastructure Pipeline, showing forward projections of planned public and private investment.

Growth corridors – The government has asked the National Infrastructure Commission to develop proposals for unlocking growth, housing and jobs in the Cambridge–Milton Keynes–Oxford corridor. The commission will produce a final report for Autumn Statement 2017.

Local Growth

Further allocation of the Local Growth Fund – The government will conclude a further round of Growth Deals with Local Enterprise Partnerships.

Old Oak Common –The government has agreed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation on the transfer of government owned assets to the Development Corporation.

Thames Estuary 2050 Growth Commission – The government has asked Lord Heseltine to lead a Commission to develop a long-term vision and delivery plan for the Thames Estuary region.

Local Enterprise Partnership Small Business Representative – The government will require all Local Enterprise Partnerships to have a nominated Small Business Representative on their Board.

Energy and Environment

Flood defence package – Flood defence and resilience funding will be increased by more than £700 million by 2020-21, funded by a 0.5% increase in the standard rate of Insurance Premium Tax. In addition to this, the government will spend a further £130 million on repairing transport infrastructure damaged by Storms Desmond and Eva. (60)

Support for renewable electricity – The government will auction up to £730 million support for offshore wind and other less established renewable technologies this parliament for projects generating electricity in 2021 to 2026. The first auction will offer £290 million of support.


Overall the Chancellor has continued his commitment to planning reform in order to promote and speed development, together with investment in major infrastructure to stimulate economic growth.

It is clear that there will still need to be more detail published as part of new legislation to deliver some of these changes, and this will ultimately determine how successful they are in practice.

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