Nick Boles over the audience

Account Director, Oliver Deed reviews our event this morning with key note speaker Nick Boles MP.

An array of the property and planning industries biggest stars converged upon Westminster this morning, to hear former Planning Minister Nick Boles MP speak on the government’s plans to boost productivity in the UK.

Boles, minister in both the Business, Innovation and Skills, and Education departments, talked at length on the issue of apprenticeships, planning and women in engineering.

To briefly summarise, he talked about:

  • The new apprenticeship levy, which will fund a new generation of apprenticeships across a range of industries However the size and application of the new levy have yet to be fixed (watch out for the Comprehensive Spending Review). We do know it will be levied as a percentage of payroll.
  • Planning as a big part of increasing productivity in the UK, and measures to improve the planning process will result in exponential gain in UK economic performance. The idea of planning technicians seemed to appeal and he promised to take the issue away and consider in further detail.
  • The role of apprenticeships in the high growth, digital sectors and making apprenticeships in engineering attractive to women at as early an age as possible.


Most interestingly, Boles told the members of the audience that if they were unhappy with the speed of the planning process, they should direct their concerns to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, rather than Greg Clarke, the Communities Secretary.

Is this a sign of the times as the Chancellor tightens his control over all elements of government in the run up to a tilt at Number 10 in 2020?

Overall, productivity is clearly a concern for Boles and the whole of government. The focus on skills, education and a streamlined planning process will, in the view of the government, result in a boost to UK productivity in the medium to long term. The measures taken so far, according to Boles, are testament to that commitment.

There is more to come, so watch this space.

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