Businesses asked to help with Planning Fund

West & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce is calling on its members to get behind a new programme to plug some of the gaps in the planning system.

A fund is being set up to support people entering the planning industry and to support their progress through it.  There has been a long-standing shortfall of graduates and others in local planning authorities, and this is having a negative impact on the overall development system.  Businesses across the country are now being asked to help meet a funding programme of £3 million.  Aviva has helped kick the scheme off with a £500,000 contribution.

The scheme is being co-ordinated across the country by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), who hope that the new five-year industry-led programme will increase skills and capacity in Local Planning Authorities (LPAs).  To find out more about the scheme, please contact BCC direct here, or call us on 07827 318681.
The programme will pay for at least 100 undergraduate and masters’ level qualifications for people entering the planning industry, and for people already working in LPAs who need to develop skills for more senior planning roles. It will pay for the learner’s training and will aim to facilitate work experience and jobs within LPAs. In return, at the end of their course of study, the learner must commit to work in a council planning role for at least two years. 
Chambers across the country, including here in West & North Yorkshire, have been clear that limited resources and specialist skills within the planning system are delaying important investment that will promote growth across the UK. The programme aims to address this by increasing the pipeline of talent into the sector and expertise among existing planners.  
Whilst the programme is industry-led, ahead of the Spring Budget, the BCC is calling on the Government to commit to matching the £3 million contribution to ensure that LPAs can employ newly qualified graduates for at least two years. The Government is being urged to introduce a mechanism for those LPAs in greatest need of additional planning skills and resources to access dedicated funding.  

Mark Casci, Head of Policy & Representation at West & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce, said:

“Having an efficient, adaptive and streamlined planning system is essential to the future growth and prosperity of our country, and that’s why we’re fully behind this scheme.  We know things are tight for many firms right now, so not everyone will be able to contribute, but we’d like businesses to consider if they can help, and we will be promoting and discussing it further with members to see what they say.”
Baroness Martha Lane Fox, President of the British Chambers of Commerce said:   
“The UK’s economy is being held back by a slow planning system, and we must address the lack of resource by giving local planning authorities some hope of support. 
“The Chambers membership is consistently telling us a slow planning system due to limited resource is blocking much-needed investment and halting growth. We want to work in partnership with government to take concrete steps to support them to help unlock our planning system. 
“Investing in Talent, Building Communities is a five-year programme led by the BCC, with founding partner Aviva, to help local councils with endless delays in the planning system, get on with driving the British economy forward. It is vital that businesses of all shapes and sizes across the country contribute to this initiative. The Spring Budget offers the Chancellor an opportunity to match the industry’s commitment to unblocking Britain’s planning problem, he must seize it.” 

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