CPRE: wrong homes in wrong places

“New paper shows Government focus on meeting market demand is failing to provide homes people need

A new paper published today by the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) argues that the Government’s continuing failure to prioritise genuine local housing needs over market demand will perpetuate the housing crisis while wasting precious countryside [1].

CPRE’s Needless Demand analyses the current method that councils use to plan for local housing and what is being built as a result. It finds that ‘housing need’ and ‘housing demand’ are being conflated in planning policy, with the result that sheer numbers matter more than type and tenure of housing.

CPRE had hoped that the Government’s new consultation on housing – Planning for the right homes in the right places, published last Thursday – would clearly distinguish between genuine local needs and market demand [2]. In calling for a standardised approach to identifying the needs of different social groups, the Government took some steps towards this.

Yet the general thrust of the Government’s plans was to argue that high-demand areas will have to accept more homes to improve the affordability of the housing market. CPRE sees this as neither building the right homes, nor building them in the right places. The likely result is profitable executive homes built on precious countryside in the south east, rather than building what communities across the country actually need. …”


Hinkley C subsidising UK nuclear weapon industry

So NOW see just why our Local Enterprise Partnership – where many past and present board members have and had nuclear and arms industry interests – is pouring money into Hinkley C.

Scientists tell MPs government is using expensive power project to cross-subsidise military by maintaining nuclear skills

“The government is using the “extremely expensive” Hinkley Point C nuclear power station to cross-subsidise Britain’s nuclear weapon arsenal, according to senior scientists.

In evidence submitted to the influential public accounts committee (PAC), which is currently investigating the nuclear plant deal, scientists from Sussex University state that the costs of the Trident programme could be “unsupportable” without “an effective subsidy from electricity consumers to military nuclear infrastructure”. …

“What our research suggests is that British low-carbon energy strategies are more expensive than they need to be, in order to maintain UK military nuclear infrastructures,” said Stirling.

“And without assuming the continuation of an extremely expensive UK civil nuclear industry, it is likely that the costs of Trident would be significantly greater.”

The Hinkley Point project has been criticised for its huge cost. The French electricity company EDF is currently in the early stages of constructing the plant near Bridgwater, Somerset, in partnership with the China General Nuclear Power Group.

The government has agreed a minimum price of £92.50 per megawatt hour (MWh) for electricity produced by Hinkley Point, the first new-build nuclear power plant in the UK since 1995. Under this agreement, if the usual wholesale price is lower, the consumer pays the difference in price. The current wholesale electricity price is around £42 per MWh, so the electricity consumer would pay EDF an extra £50 per MWh.

Last month, the government agreed a “strike price” of £57.50 per MWh for offshore windfarms off Scotland and Yorkshire, far below the Hinkley guaranteed price.

This week, the Green MP Caroline Lucas asked the government about the Ministry of Defence and the business department discussing the “relevance of UK civil nuclear industry skills and supply chains to the maintaining of UK nuclear submarine and wider nuclear weapons capabilities”.

Harriett Baldwin, the defence procurement minister, answered that “it is fully understood that civil and defence sectors must work together to make sure resource is prioritised appropriately for the protection and prosperity of the United Kingdom”.

Johnstone said the decision-making process behind Hinkley raised questions about transparency and accountability, saying: “In this ever more networked world, both civil and military nuclear technologies are increasingly recognised as obsolete. Yet it seems UK policymaking is quietly trying to further entrench the two – in ways that have been escaping democratic accountability.”

At a hearing held by the PAC in parliament on Monday, senior civil servants defended the Hinkley deal after a National Audit Office report concluded that it was “risky and expensive”. …”


Everything has consequences – particularly austerity cuts

A comment on dementia tax from a Guardian comments

“There’s a huge unreported scandal in how many of the Tory cuts actually end up costing more than they save.

Social care cuts keep people in expensive and overloaded hospital beds longer, and lead to desperate attempts to scrape in money to pay for the damage like this.

Yesterday it was revealed that cuts to childcare and other cuts affecting the poorest families resulted in a large increase in the number of children taken into care: not only is this a disaster for those children and families, taking more children into care will cost much more than those cuts could ever save (and it was proven back in 2011 I think that cut schemes like SureStart pay for themselves).

The awful disability assessments system, which constantly makes target-driven mistakes and leaves people destitute, was shown long ago to cost more than it saves in payments. Somehow, this wasn’t a huge scandal.

And we see the same story across the board – council cuts lead to potholes, more accidents (some fatal), and compensation payments that cost more than was saved by not filling the potholes. Education cuts force small school maintenance tasks to be skipped resulting in expensive repairs further down the line. And so on.

And then just look at the Grenfell fire.

Result? We have a country suffering horribly from austerity – and just look at the national debt figures. It’s gone up under the Conservatives in about 7 years by about 50% more than it did under nearly twice as many years under Labour. Because poorly planned cuts cost, they don’t save.

The conservatives’ main policy, main reason for existing, has failed and backfired colossally. Why is no-one reporting on it? Why isn’t there a scandal and rebellion by conservatives furious that their own half baked short term policies are causing harm and pushing up the debt by increasing spending on other parts of the balance sheet?”


Exmouth Water Sports Centre: Grenadier’s three days of consultation announced

Grenadier is holding consultation events at Ocean in Queen’s Drive on October 21 and 25, between 9am and 5pm, and on November 1 between 5pm and 9pm.

It says the proposed scheme would provide training and changing facilities alongside an outdoor events space and eateries, and is expected to provide services throughout the year.

The initial plans have been called “uninspiring” and protestors note that the illustrations do not show the Queens Drive road diversion as described by EDDC.

“Jeremy Hunt to pledge £20,000 ‘golden hello’ for rural GPs”

To be offered only to the first 200 applicants. There are nearly 42,000 GPs. Say no more.

“Newly-qualified GPs are to be offered a one-off payment of £20,000 if they start their careers in areas that struggle to attract family doctors.

The £4m scheme, to be announced by Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, aims to boost the numbers of doctors in rural and coastal areas of England.

Mr Hunt said it will help “reduce the pressure” on practices in those areas.
The Royal College of GPs backed the plan, saying there was a “serious shortage” of family doctors.

The one-off payment will be offered to 200 GPs from 2018.

As of September 2016, there were 41,985 GPs in England.

Mr Hunt told the BBC: “What we’re looking to do is to reduce the pressure on those GP practices which are doing a very, very valiant job but can’t look after patients as well as they want to, because they’re finding it hard to recruit.”

The health secretary is due to speak at the Royal College of GPs’ annual conference in Liverpool, where he will offer something for those already in the profession too, by announcing plans for flexible working for older doctors – to encourage them to put off retirement.

He will also confirm plans for an overseas recruitment office which will aim to attract GPs from countries outside Europe to work in England. …”