» Tuesday, October 27, 2009


The Prime Minister’s Spokesman said that the Chancellor gave an update to Cabinet on the economy and restated, in light of last week’s third quarter figures, that the judgement remained that we would return to growth towards the end of the year. The Chancellor also told the Cabinet that he had recently had discussions with transport experts who said that they were seeing encouraging trends in economic activity.

The Chancellor went on to say that the Government would continue to support the economy until the recovery was secured; rebuild the fiscal position, (which included halving the deficit over the next four years); and promote a high growth strategy.

John Healey gave a presentation on planning. We had had eighteen months of reforms of the planning process, particularly focussed on big infrastructure projects. There had been reform at all levels, which had brought both certainty and consistency. Three big bills had provided the framework to secure the sort of investment projects that we needed to see over the next twenty years; the Climate Change Act, the Planning Act and the Energy Act.

The new regime for nationally significant infrastructure projects had three features; streamlined consent regimes; separation of policy from decision-making; and making sure that planning applicants consulted up front. There was an Infrastructure Planning Commission, which would be open for business from 1st March 2010 and would be accepting applications from the energy and transport sectors from that time.

There was an update from the Health Secretary on the next stages of NHS reform, in particular the NHS Constitution, which subject to passing through Parliament, could come into effect next month.

The Foreign Secretary spoke about the EU Council, due to be held later this week in Brussels. He brought up the risk of unemployment in Europe, although that was not on the official EU Council agenda. The most important issue was climate finance and the challenge of bringing together public and private resources, to help developing countries in particular.

original source.

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