Today’s papers are stuffed full of Olympic reportage rather than analysis of the GDP figures. But down in the bowels of Whitehall, a list of policy options to try and boost economic growth are being drawn up. Decisions on what to do will be taken after the Olympics but I understand that further planning reform is currently on the list.
The coalition announced a new national policy planning framework in the Spring. But it was not as radical as George Osborne and the Treasury wanted it to be: opposition from heritage groups like the National Trust and various environmental organisations led to it being watered down. With the economy shrinking and construction in particular decline, though, the Treasury wants to come back to this fight. I’m told ‘George has even less time now for all of the green groups’.
If Downing Street does come back for another bite at planning, it is sure to spark political controversy. The question is whether the continuing problems of the economy will enable them to win the argument that it needs to be made easier to build in this country.