Coronavirus: PM Boris Johnson sets out 'ambitious' economic recovery plan
Boris Johnson says now is the time to be "ambitious" about the UK's future, as he set out a post-coronavirus recovery plan.
He said the UK "cannot continue to be prisoners of this crisis" and the government was "preparing now, slowly, cautiously to come out of hibernation".
Delivering a major speech in Dudley College of Technology, the prime minister claimed his government would tackle the long-term problems in the UK economy revealed by the “lightning flash” of the pandemic.
Acknowledging the scale of the oncoming downturn, he said: “We must work fast, because we’ve already seen the vertiginous drop in GDP, and we know that people are worried about their jobs and their businesses.”
Infrastructure projects in England would be "accelerated" and there would be investment in new academy schools, green buses and new broadband, the PM stated.
His announcement, a £5bn in capital investment to accelerate infrastructure projects this year, including hospital maintenance works, school building and improvements to the road and rail networks, puts infrastructure at the centre of the government's economic growth strategy.
Changes, planned to encourage building, include:
- A wider range of commercial buildings will be allowed to change to residential use without the need for a planning application
- Builders will not need a normal planning application to demolish and rebuild vacant and redundant residential and commercial buildings, if they are rebuilt as homes
- Homeowners will be able to build additional space above their properties "via a fast track approval process" and subject to neighbour consultation
Pubs, libraries, village shops will be protected from the changes as they were are "essential to the lifeblood of communities," Boris Johnson said.
When asked whether he would stick by his manifesto promise not to raise the rates of income tax, VAT or national insurance, he said: “You should wait to see what the chancellor has to say in the course of the next few weeks and months. I remain absolutely determined to ensure that the tax burden, insofar as we possibly can, is reasonable.”
Mr Johnson acknowledged the planning changes might meet resistance in traditional Tory-voting areas, but said: "Sometimes you have got to get on with things."
Posted on Jun 29, 2020.