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Public affairs update from CE National – May 12th

Net Zero Council meets for the first time


The Net Zero Council convened for the first time on Tuesday (9 May), made up of the leaders of some of the world’s biggest banks, energy companies, technology giants and finance firms, and co-chaired by Energy Minister Lord Callanan and Co-op Group chief executive Shirine Khoury-Haq. The new Council discussed the UK’s position on net zero and the importance of building one coherent voice across government, finance and business to support the UK’s key sectors in the net zero transition.


Energy intensive businesses across the UK receive government support to become more energy efficient


On Tuesday (9 May), the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero announced £24.3 million of government funding to help clean up manufacturing processes and improve the energy efficiency of some of the UK’s most energy intensive businesses. The Industrial Energy Transformation Fund (IETF) supports businesses using high amounts of energy to reduce their fossil fuel using innovative low-carbon technologies. Businesses include Heineken, Kellogg’s, Toyota and Britvic among others.

Government drops plans to abolish leasehold system in England and Wales

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities will announce a new range of measures next month to protect the 10 million Britons who own their homes in a leasehold. Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove is reported to be unable to find the Parliamentary time to legislate for a total ban, despite a pledge made in January to end it this year. Instead, Gove will announce measures including a cap on ground rents, more powers for tenants to choose their own property management companies and a ban on building owners forcing leaseholders to pay any legal costs incurred as part of a dispute.


Full draft policy platform that could form 2024 Labour manifesto revealed


Yesterday (11 May), LabourList published a summary of an 86-page policy handbook, built on submissions from Labour groups and beyond, six National Policy Forum documents consulted on earlier this year, past consultations and pledges announced by the Shadow Cabinet in recent years. It is Labour’s most comprehensive policy platform yet since Starmer became leader, drawing up a “provisional but wide-ranging blueprint likely to shape the next general election manifesto”. Policies will first be “debated, amended and agreed” by those involved in the National Policy Forum, with National Policy Forum members able to file amendments until June before a key meeting in late July. These are then “subject to approval” at Labour’s annual conference, to decide the “party programme”. Then ahead of an election, representatives will hold a further “Clause V meeting” to decide which parts of the programme reach the manifesto.


Provisional policies that are relevant to built environment include a £28bn investment of public capital a year into the green economy, alongside an active industrial strategy, with strategic public investment attracting private sector investment; investment in both mitigating the climate crisis but also in adapting to the effects of a warming world, for example by rapidly improving flood defences, the resilience of our national infrastructure to extreme weather and other measures; tackle planning barriers to renewable energy projects, getting planning decision timelines down from years to just months, and remove the obstacles that are currently preventing businesses from investing in the UK; setting out a clear roadmap for decarbonisation; reforming the UK’s system of energy supply, generation and transmission and distribution so that it delivers cheaper bills for consumers and businesses, clean energy and energy security; upgrade every home that needs it to EPC standard C within a decade by installing energy-saving measures such as loft insulation, going street by street in locally-delivered programmes; establishing a new Industrial Strategy Council and place it on a statutory footing, bringing together industry, unions and other experts to inform policy-making; overseeing a significant expansion of economic devolution in England by the end of first term; delivering a landmark shift in skills provision and give people the tools they need in the workplaces of the future; reforming planning and arcane land purchase rules to get Britain building, while fixing the country’s development model; reforming the private rented sector, giving tenants greater security through a powerful new renters’ charter, which will include longer-term tenancies as standard, the right to reasonable alterations, ending Section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions and introducing a national register of landlords; and introducing a legally binding ‘Decent Homes Standard 2’ updated for the next decade that will apply to all buildings in the private rented sector.

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