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Osborne pushes rural strategies

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British Chancellor George Osborne

Chancellor George Osborne supports the idea of new planning laws to make it easier for villages in England to build new starter homes…reports Asian Lite News

British Chancellor George Osborne
British Chancellor George Osborne

Mr Osborne said the changes would allow councils to allocate more sites for building homes specifically for people who already live or work in the area. He said he also wanted to improve transport, schools and broadband in rural areas to boost the rural economy.

But Labour said the plans were ignoring the need for more affordable homes, reports BBC News.

Osborne wants to extend the government’s “starter homes” scheme, to some villages.The initiative offers young local first-time home buyers a 20% discount on the price of the property. As it stands, the discount will be offered on homes up to £250,000 outside London and £450,000 inside London. The measures are part of Mr Osborne’s new rural productivity plan, which will be unveiled later.

In his article in The Daily Telegraph, Mr Osborne said rural areas were an increasingly dynamic part of the economy, with 60,000 people moving from the city to the countryside each year.

He has pledged to continue to protect the Green Belt but said he wanted to “make it easier for people to stay in their rural communities and for newcomers to settle there too”.

Osborne and Liz Truss Environment Secretary in their joint newspaper editorial say “For rural areas, we want better internet and mobile phone communications, better transport, better schools, better skills, better housing, better business growth and better local government.

“And we’ll look at planning and regulatory constraints facing rural businesses. In a recent survey of rural businesses the main barrier to growth that most identified was planning restrictions.

“So for a start, we’ll review rules around agricultural buildings such as barns to allow rural businesses to expand more easily.”

The Campaign for Rural England said it welcomed the government’s recognition that rural areas could boost the economy, but it voiced concern that the “beautiful English countryside” was at risk of “inappropriate developments”.