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Our reaction to the 2023 autumn statement

22nd November 2023

The Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has announced a raft of new fiscal measures in the 2023 autumn statement.

Commenting on the statement, Roger Mortlock, CEO at CPRE, said:

On the extension to the mortgage guarantee scheme:

‘People are crying out for genuinely affordable and social rented homes, both of which are in desperately short supply in all parts of the country. This morning, the government announced an extension to the mortgage guarantee scheme but nothing about investing in the kinds of housing that will help to fix our hidden rural housing crisis.

‘The government must act now to ensure there is a supply of the homes people need. If it doesn’t, the future of our countryside communities will be at stake.’

On stamp duty rebates for people who make their homes more energy efficient

‘We agree with the government that people’s homes need to be more energy efficient, for the sake of both the planet and people’s pockets. But why is there still no requirement for new houses and other buildings to include solar panels? The proposed stamp duty rebates are a drop in the ocean when what we need is a rooftop solar revolution. Only by making huge changes to the way we generate our electricity will we meet our zero obligations and protect the countryside for generations to come.

‘New homes should set the standard for energy efficiency. To turn this into a reality, the government must be bold and make rooftop solar panels compulsory in all new developments, not fiddle around with things like stamp duty.’

On individual payments to people with new energy infrastructure built close to their property

‘Planning decisions should be in the wider public interest rather than just being about compensating people for loss of property values. Individual householder payments don’t make sense for rural communities. It would be far better for National Grid and others to invest in community energy schemes that make communities as a whole better able to adapt to climate change and move towards net zero.

‘The National Grid already works to bury existing or new pylons in protected landscapes, but that is because improving these landscapes is a benefit for the whole nation rather than just those who live near to where the undergrounding takes place.

‘When the will is there, we can protect our iconic landscapes and meet our nation’s energy needs.’

On plans to speed up planning decisions

‘This will not resolve the chronic under-funding of planning departments that is to blame for the inability of Local Planning Authorities and Planning Inspectorates to meet deadlines. Speeding up the decision-making process without additional resources will inevitably lead to councils approving lower-quality applications. Councils will be financially incentivised to push schemes through rather than consider them on their merits and adherence to relevant planning policies.

‘Planning departments need more money in order to train and recruit the staff required to provide a high-quality service.’

New housing with solar panels
John Morrison / Alamy Stock Photo


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