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Old gold hits the mainstream

My blog of Thursday was clearly wrong in respect of the election-fatigue being suffered in Richmond Park! My old Mum and her neighbours turned out most diligently (53% is very high for a by-election) to give the government a bloody nose. For Mr Goldsmith’s huge majority in the general election to be overturned so spectacularly […]

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Comfortable voters make for a dreary protest

So the Richmond Park by-election taradiddle gets played out to its dreary denouement today. Will the comfortable voters of Richmond Park register a vote against Brexit or against the third runway at Heathrow? It is all so negative and dispiriting. And it will only ever amount to a protest vote. Neither the airport expansion nor […]

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Farmer mucks in to beat construction woes

I have written many times about the luminosity of Mark Farmer (see blogs 5 November 2015, 9 February 2016, 26 April 2016) but he really is a Top Man. He is also very busy. He has just published the Farmer Review, an independent study commissioned by two government departments on the construction skills deficit. In […]

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The real cost of SDLT… but is anyone listening?

We all find ourselves rather diverted by today’s front cover of the Estates Gazette, a (presumably eye wateringly expensive) advertisement paid for by Residential Land. As one of my housebuilder mates commented, pithily and somewhat wearily: “Well done Bruce Ritchie – but is anybody listening?” Well, my very real hunch is that they are. And […]

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Full of eastern promise

Monday had me addressing the East of England LGA (Local Government Association) conference entitled “Re-imagining regeneration in the East” and I found myself at a seriously worthwhile event, and totally among friends.  I have a bit of a soft spot for the LGA, and for the East of England mob in particular. Led by the […]

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My old boss will be a fine captain of industry

The reshuffle in July meant a huge promotion for my erstwhile gaffer (and all-time hero) Greg Clark, of course. The combination of energy with industrial strategy makes for a most compelling proposition, even if it does result in the rather ugly acronym of BEIS (and a bit of a fracas while two sets of civil […]

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Adding fuel to both powerhouse and engine

Those who had assumed that the summer reshuffle meant, at best, something of a demotion of the construct of the Northern Powerhouse and the Midlands Engine may need to look again.  It would seem that these are powerful concepts, that have captured the imagination of those in the areas concerned, and they are here to […]

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A massive incentive for local growth

I would imagine  there are a few rather pleased people around the property industry today. After all, we have been nagging the government to revalue business rates, and yesterday local government minister Marcus Jones published his consultation on the revaluation of business rates, which aims to ensure bills “accurately reflect changes in the property market”. […]

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Fighting talk from our new minister

Gavin Barwell, our new housing and planning minister seems to be universally highly regarded by Those in the Know. I have only met him once, at his request, and I came away with the impression of a chap open to new ideas, with a formidable intellect and a serious drive to make a difference. He […]

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The benefits of 30 months in Whitehall

During my 30 months in Whitehall, I had the benefit of traversing three departments (Cabinet Office; Business, Innovation and Skills; and Communities and Local Government) in hot pursuit of the great Greg Clark, in my exulted positon as his policy adviser on urban regeneration. My last billet was in CLG of course, where Greg was […]

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