CIOB submits response to the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill Public Committee Call for Evidence
In July 2022, CIOB’s policy and public affairs team submitted written evidence to the Levelling Up, Housing & Communities Committee call for evidence on the draft Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill.
Back in February 2022, the Government published the Levelling-up White Paper, setting out a framework of action to reduce geographical disparities and raise socio-economic outcomes across the UK through investment in the built, social, and economic environment. The proposed programme of action primarily revolved around the setting of twelve ‘missions’, including empowering local decision makers; securing paths to homeownership; improving the connectivity of communities; and increasing the number of people completing high-quality skills training, amongst others. Collectively, these convey the Government’s ambition to ‘improve productivity, boost economic growth, encourage innovation, create good jobs, and enhance educational attainment’.
Following the Queen’s Speech in May 2022, the UK Government unveiled the ‘Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill’, and provided further details of how the Government would level up the nation in practice.
As the Bill embarked on its legislative journey, the policy and public affairs team published a blog, analysing the 'Rhetoric vs Reality' of the Conservative Party’s flagship policy.
After publishing the blog, the team began compiling evidence to submit to the Committee with the responsibility of scrutinising the Bill. Overall, our evidence sets out recommendations, of what CIOB believes the Bill should strive to achieve – from placing the quality of new homes as a primary objective of reforming the planning system; to introducing a Built Environment GCSE in England. Alongside this, we recommended that Government:
- Link in with existing legislation such as the Building Safety Act 2022 to create a cohesive suite of policy for the built environment.
- Review the existing land value calculations with a view of fostering a more inclusive planning system for SME housebuilders.
- Utilise the Government’s housing accelerator, Homes England, to provide SMEs with opportunities to develop small parcels of land as part of larger strategic developments to learn best practice and protect market involvement.
- Address the falling rate of SME housing development by implementing quotas for SME built sites as part of the local plan process.
- Provide greater clarity on the Infrastructure Levy prior to the release of secondary legislation.
- Consult with built environment stakeholders, to understand whether the Infrastructure Levy process would be best implemented as a phased payment or upfront payment system to provide local authorities with the funding for crucial local infrastructure early in the development process.
- Develop immediate strategies to recruit, retain, and progress workers within the construction industry to practically deliver levelling up.
To assist in digesting the information we have broken down our evidence into its key headings on the right hand side of this page.
CIOB response key areas
As a professional body, CIOB recognises that the construction industry has a significant role to play in achieving levelling up and is well-placed to advise on immediate and long-term strategies for future regeneration, improving the quality of housing and building the necessary knowledge and skills to match the levelling up ambition.
Construction officially accounts for approximately 6% of economic output of the UK and provides employment for 2.3 million people. It is recognised as a vital cog within the economy, but it is far more than just an economic driver. The built environment continues to influence and shape how we live, work, and play at community levels. Therefore, the Government must not underestimate the importance of listening to the industry on how best to deliver levelling up at a practical level.
Should you have any views on the Levelling up and Regeneration Bill, or would like further information, please contact [email protected]. CIOB’s policy & public affairs team will also be attending both Labour Party and Conservative Party Conference in September and October 2022 where we will be hosting events on the levelling up agenda alongside RIBA, RICS and RTPI.
Once our submission has been approved by the Committee, we will make it available on the following webpage.