Tag Archives: eric pickles

Opinion: Making a Pickle of the politics of planning

Eric Pickles is a great populist and masterful at landing a political punch. During Monday’s debate on the Growth and Infrastructure Bill, he was being pressed by Hilary Benn. Will he, Benn demanded, name a lagging planning authority that might be brought into special measures under the bill? “I am very happy to name the worst, which is Hackney,” Pickles told MPs with evident glee.

Poor Labour controlled Hackney, named and shamed as the worst planning authority in England. Except it isn’t – by far. The furious mayor of …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 16 Comments

Eric Pickles: are you a cigar-chomping Commie?

Dear Eric

You always give a fine performance. Yesterday you told us with passion how you became a Conservative. It was a nice story, but does your claim to have a developed a “burning dislike of oppressive state bureaucracy” match the reality?

Do you remember localism? You did not mention it yesterday. The great localism project, you might recall, was launched on the twin platforms of the Big Society and Open Source Planning. The Big Society has slipped through the cracks of the political stage, but you enshrined localism in the Localism Act 2011.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 7 Comments

Opinion: Is this the start of Plan A+?

It looks like the coming months will see new initiatives to boost the economy, following the second quarter contraction (now revised up slightly to -0.5%) and a record trade deficit.

As The Spectator reports,

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , , and | 4 Comments

Opinion: What is keeping councils awake at night?

The Local Government Conference met in conference in Birmingham last week.

I am slightly (only very slightly) embarrassed to confess that I have attended every conference since the LGA was created in 1997. In that first year the conference (in Manchester) ran from Tuesday until Friday. There was a gala night on the set of Coronation Street (this is apparently a television soap opera for those of you too busy each evening with your politics).

John Prescott and Gordon Brown turned up to praise the new body’s birth and the role of local government (delicious irony in hindsight), John Bird and John …

Posted in Local government and Op-eds | Also tagged , , , and | 5 Comments

Opinion: An Unlikely Defender of the Faith

Eric Pickles recently sent forth an encyclical and counterblast to the “illiberal and intolerant secularists” seeking to overturn “the right to worship  a fundamental and hard-fought British liberty” and reverse “the fight for religious freedom in British history, deeply entwined with our political freedom”.

Our Town Clerk at once e-mailed us all a copy – on the very day, as it happened, that I went to Hertford for a County Council Meeting.

As usual, the meeting started at 10 30 a.m. And as usual those councillors who wished to pray met in the Council Chamber a little earlier at 10 20 a.m. Nothing wrong with that – their Prayer Meeting is not part …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 21 Comments

Opinion: Four ways we can tackle the housing crisis

Housing is moving up the agenda -– and looks like being a key issue in next year’s London elections. The Greater London Authority now has more powers over housing and given London is still dogged by a lack of affordable homes to rent, lease or buy, despite the recession, it’s reasonable for Londoners to expect the next Mayor and Assembly to take action.

Building more homes in a time of public sector cuts will be a challenge, and even using what we’ve got more efficiently will take a lot of cash. So we will need a range of ideas if we’re …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , and | 24 Comments

Should councils be able to cap the number of second and holiday homes in their area?

Earlier this week, the Lib Dems’ Communities and Local Government Minister Andrew Stunell wrote here on LibDemVoice about the Coalition’s measures to increase councils’ powers to cut tax relief to those with second homes:

… our plans to allow local authorities to charge an Empty Homes Premium – up to an extra 50% of council tax – on any property that has been vacant for two years or more. Crucially, we are retaining the exemptions for properties empty as a result of the death of an owner, or if the owner has moved into hospital or to give or

Posted in News | Also tagged , , and | 7 Comments
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