Labour chancellor Rachel Reeves pledges overhaul of UK’s ‘antiquated’ planning system | Politics News

Rachel Reeves will promise to speed up planning processes to revive the economy as she branded the Tories the “single biggest obstacle” to the economy.

The shadow chancellor will pledge an overhaul of the UK’s “antiquated planning system” in order to “get Britain building again”.

Business and the economy is set to dominate the second day of Labour conference in Liverpool and as the party looks to capitalise on the Conservatives’ controversial decision to scrap the northern leg of HS2 to Manchester.

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Sir Keir Starmer will charm businesses by gathering hundreds of company bosses at the Labour conference in a meeting the party described as the biggest of his kind.

Microsoft, Ikea and Octopus are among the attendees at the business forum, which will be addressed by Ms Reeves and the shadow business secretary Jonathan Reynolds.

In her speech Ms Reeves is expected to highlight how decision times for major infrastructure projects have increased by 65% since 2012, now taking four years,.

The reforms she will propose include updating all national policy statements – some of which have not been revised for over a decade – within the first six months of Labour entering Number 10.

Planning applications would be fast-tracked for battery factories, laboratories and 5G infrastructure while the party would also set clearer national guidance for developers on consulting local communities to avoid the prospect of litigation.

Sweeteners and potential incentives such as cheaper energy bills will be provided to encourage local communities to back clean energy projects.

“If we want to spur investment, restore economic security and revive growth, then we must get Britain building again,” Ms Reeves is expected to say.

“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.

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“If the Tories won’t build, if the Tories can’t build, then we will. Taking head-on the obstacles presented by our antiquated planning system.

In response, the Conservatives criticised Labour for its recent opposition to government plans to relax environmental rules in order to boost housebuilding.

Party chairman Greg Hands said: “If Labour had any intention of making long-term reform, they would support new building projects – instead, just weeks ago, they tried to block our plans to build 100,000 new homes.

“Labour’s only plan to grow the economy is to borrow an extra £28bn a year, increasing debt and inflation.”