Growth and Infrastructure Bill to boost investment


New legislation to remove bureaucracy and boost business investment has been introduced to Parliament.

The new Growth and Infrastructure Bill sets out to boost the country’s position on a global stage by implementing a series of reforms to lessen red tape surrounding investment, new infrastructure and job creation.

If passed, the Bill would allow the reconsideration of Section 106 agreements in order to speed up home construction on housing sites and release some of the 75,000 stalled affordable and private developments.

Red tape surrounding planning applications and the installation of superfast broadband would also be lessened under the Bill.

Town and village green applications would be amended to ensure that they continue to protect community spaces and are not used incorrectly.

Further measures in the Bill include the implementation of recommendations from the Penfold Review, removing overlapping development requirements where consent from different government agencies was needed on top of planning permission.

A new optional ‘employee-owner’ status would be made available for companies to offer to their staff, allowing workers to benefit through tax-free shares and posses a financial stake in their businesses.

The Bill outlines how planning for large scale business and commercial projects could be accelerated, allowing developers to choose a fast-track route and guarantee that decisions will be taken in twelve months from the start of examination.

Secretary of state for communities and local government, Eric Pickles, said: ‘These common sense reforms will support local jobs and local firms. They complement the changes we already delivered through the Localism Act, from streamlined planning guidance and, shortly, from the local retention of business rates.’

Planning minister Nick Boles said: ‘The Growth and Infrastructure Bill will boost investment and local economic growth. It removes confusing and overlapping red tape, whilst ensuring democratic checks and balances and environmental safeguards remain in place.’

CBI head of group for infrastructure, Nicola Walker, said: ‘These legislative proposals should help to streamline and speed up the planning process, unblocking development and allowing companies to invest, grow and create jobs. With 97% of business highlighting planning as a barrier to investment, it is vital that the Government works quickly to pass the Bill and deliver these changes.’

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