A budget understandably dominated by Coronavirus showed the ’One Nation’ ethos of the Johnson regime. Huge commitment to the NHS, support of small business, pension protection and sick pay meant that much of the rumoured changes to the rural economy (IHT reform, Diesel etc.) did not come to light.


The most interesting news for those with land assets was the Chancellor’s announcement that the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government will propose ‘comprehensive reforms to bring the planning system into the 21st Century’ today. We will be watching with interest and giving our clients appropriate advice as the proposed changes become clearer. The CLA’s lobbying work throughout this budget has been exceptional and they will be continuing to press for the reforms to the system laid out in their Rural Powerhouse Campaign.

It appears that the Government are proposing reform to the system that will simplify the system, improve capacity, capability and performance of planning authorities and ultimately accelerate the development process. In his budget statement, Mr Sunak says the UK Government will be exploring the longer-term reforms to the planning system that ‘rethink planning from its first principles, to ensure the system is providing more certainty for the public, planning authorities and developers.’

Whilst early days, this sounds like a potentially exciting change for landowners. If the reforms made in the 2018 National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) are taken to another level and particularly in relation to the rural land sector this could be good news for the vitality of rural communities and the ability of estates to really contribute.

The CLA have announced that they will be continuing to lobby for:

  • A simpler system for rural economic development
  • Permitted Development Rights for new build affordable housing (for rent) on rural exception sites
  • A package of reforms for heritage-related development
  • Sustainable villages – making rural communities fit for the future

We fully support this approach and would encourage our clients to give the CLA as much support in terms of information and examples to the CLA to help in their efforts.