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Osborne’s budget speech promises planning reforms and further devolution

by on July 9, 2015

Chancellor George Osborne promised a further raft of planning reforms when he delivered his summer budget this week, but exactly what will not be unveiled until Friday 10 July.

In his budget speech Osborne insisted the administration remained wedded to the development of a ‘Northern Powerhouse’. He confirmed new powers for the new elected mayor of Greater Manchester and the creation of city-wide land commission.

He committed £30m to establish Transport for the North as a statutory body with statutory responsibilities.

Osborne launched a transport devolution package for the North which will include working on an Oyster-style smart and integrated ticketing system across bus, tram metro and rail services covering the North’s mayor-led city regions.

Osborne said the government was working towards further devolution deals with the Sheffield City region, Liverpool City region and Leeds, West Yorkshire and partner authorities.

A devolution deal is also progressing involving Cornwall and there are ambitious proposals for a “strong and coherent” West Midlands combined authority and proposals for two from East Midland authorities.

The Chancellor announced the government would invite bids for a new round of Enterprise Zones. It has pledged continuing support – and a further £90m – to help coastal areas via the Coastal Communities Fund which will carry on until 2020. The administration has published a discussion paper on regional airports.

In addition, the government has promised to introduce a “new approach” to station redevelopment and commercial land sales on the rail network building on the experience of regenerating land around Kings Cross Station and Stratford in east London.

Ministers will establish a dedicated body to focus on “pursuing opportunities to realise value from public land and property assets in the rail network to both maximise the benefit to local communities and reduce the burden of public debt”.

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Roger Milne

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