BCC launch industry-led skills programme to unblock Britain’s planning pressures

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), with founding partner Aviva, is establishing a new five-year industry-led programme to increase skills and capacity in Local Planning Authorities (LPAs). 

The programme will pay for at least 100 undergraduate and masters’ level qualifications for people entering the planning industry, and for people already working in LPAs who need to develop skills for more senior planning roles. It will pay for the learner’s training and will aim to facilitate work experience and jobs within LPAs. In return, at the end of their course of study, the learner must commit to work in a council planning role for at least two years. 

The BCC is asking businesses from all sectors to contribute to the programme’s fund with the aim of raising at least £3 million. Aviva is contributing £500,000 as the first UK firm to support the scheme. 

BCC members, of all sizes, are clear that limited resources and specialist skills within the planning system are delaying important investment that would promote growth across the UK. The programme aims to address this by increasing the pipeline of talent into the sector and expertise among existing planners. 

Whilst the programme is industry-led, ahead of the Spring Budget, the BCC is calling on the Government to commit to matching the £3 million contribution to ensure that LPAs can employ newly qualified graduates for at least two years . The Government is being urged to introduce a mechanism for those LPAs in greatest need of additional planning skills and resources to access dedicated funding. 

Baroness Martha Lane Fox, President of the British Chambers of Commerce said:  

“The UK’s economy is being held back by a slow planning system, and we must address the lack of resource by giving local planning authorities some hope of support. 

“The Chambers membership is consistently telling us a slow planning system due to limited resource is blocking much-needed investment and halting growth. We want to work in in partnership with government to take concrete steps to support them to help unlock our planning system. 

“Investing in Talent, Building Communities is a five-year programme led by the BCC, with founding partner Aviva, to help local councils with endless delays in the planning system,get on with driving the British economy forward. It is vital that businesses of all shapes and sizes across the country contribute to this initiative. The Spring Budget offers the Chancellor an opportunity to match the industry’s commitment to unblocking Britain’s planning problem, he must seize it.”