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Osborne wades into planning row

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George Osborne has robustly defended the coalition’s planning reforms and warned critics that no one should underestimate ministers’ determination to drive through the proposals.  

Writing in the Financial Times, the chancellor dismisses claims by opponents that the reforms will put the countryside in peril and says that sticking with “the old, failed planning system puts at risk young people’s future prosperity”.

In a co-authored piece with communities secretary Eric Pickles, he says: “Reforming a slow and inefficient planning system will be good news for the small business looking to expand; for the young family hoping for more affordable house prices; and for the community wanting to decide on their own future.

“This is our opportunity to unlock the new investment and new jobs the country needs. We cannot afford to miss it.”

The chancellor’s intervention follows groups including the National Trust and Campaign to Protect Rural England panning the plans which they say will give developers too much power to build over green belt land.  

Last month junior local government minister Bob Neill lashed out at both groups accusing them of representing “vested interests” and peddled “deeply misleading” and “simply untrue” claims.

Read Mr Osborne’s FT piece in full here £

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