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16 weeks ago @ http://www.conservativ... - Nicholas Boys Smith: Q... · 0 replies · +1 points

The author sounds like a sensible thoughtful person. But then says the most extraordinary things.

Anyone with a vague interest or involvement with the planning system will know that it has two main aspects - development control and forward planning. Yet the article would have us believe that forward planning doesn't exist, when in fact it's policies both in Local and Subject (mineral, waste) Plans which determine the decisions made by the development control side. Those policies are derived from national planning guidance (the NPPF) and case law.

We all want to live in beautiful neighbourhoods where quality of life is placed at the heart of planning.

The question is - will this happen if zoning is introduced? Or will it instead be a charter for developers - especially the volume house-builders. How exactly will zoning help create demand for small developers or self-builders.

We all want the public to be involved in shaping the places they live.

At the moment public engagement happens at the forward plan stage - and at the planning application stage. The new proposals seek to remove one of these engagements. How is this improving democratic accountability? If my neighbour wants to tear down their house and build a block of 20 flats, I would like to have a say in the decision making. Taking away that right sounds like a major erosion in local democracy - and very unconservative.

The elephant in the room, as is so often the case, is that landowners already hold most of the cards, while the rest of the public generally looks on from the sidelines occasionally shouting "what about what we want?" This fundamental asymmetry in the planning system has been, for the most part, ignored in the white paper. There are a couple of mentions of aspirations to claim more of the land value uplift arising from development for public benefit, by abolishing S106 and CIL and creating a new infrastructure levy. Good luck with that. CIL failed to address the problems of S106 so it's going to take some pretty hard nosed policy making to ignore the very influential voices from the landowning/property consultancy sector.

Housing secretary Jenrick's antics with Desmond and the Westferry Printing Works, don't exactly indicate that the Government is going to go in hard on the levy.

26 weeks ago @ http://www.conservativ... - Our survey. Seven out... · 0 replies · +1 points

well let's not go near Brexit.

As for the last election, the polls showed a Tory win from the outset.

26 weeks ago @ http://www.conservativ... - Our survey. Seven out... · 20 replies · +1 points

This just goes to show how out of touch with the public Conservative Party members are.

27 weeks ago @ http://www.conservativ... - David Goodhart: The vi... · 0 replies · +1 points

The British Heart Foundation, hardly at the forefront of any campaign to claim structural racism does or does not exist in British society, urge caution over any claims that there is a genetic basis to minority ethnic groups being more susceptible to covid19.

"Ethnicity is about much more than genetics, and there is a lack of concrete evidence for a genetic factor influencing the differences in susceptibility or outcomes for Covid-19 so far."

they go on to point out

"Before the outbreak of Covid-19, BAME populations were already more likely to suffer ill health, including heart and circulatory diseases and their risk factors such as high blood pressure and diabetes, and from a younger age. Much of this is linked to social and economic inequalities rather than genetics."

"Research is being carried out into whether vitamin D might have a role in preventing or treating Covid-19. The body produces Vitamin D from sunlight more slowly if you have darker skin, so some people believe vitamin D deficiency could be a potential factor."

28 weeks ago @ http://www.conservativ... - James Cullimore: To ha... · 1 reply · +1 points

sensible stuff and congratulations to Con Home for publishing it.

A couple of thoughts. Zoonoses have been around as long as humanity. Most infectious diseases originated in other animals. The pace of change is what's different, as transport has enabled new infections to spread around the world, instead of staying in one place and becoming locally endemic, or dying out.

The solutions bit was somewhat bland and optimistic. A new global agreement on nature next year via the UN. Sounds good but I'm afraid it is unlikely to make much difference.

As for the vaunted post-Brexit agriculture reforms..... the Govt just rejected proposals from its own senior backbenchers, to require food imports to meet the same standards as domestic farmers are expected to meet - and these are hardly world shattering.

The kind of intensive animal husbandry practices common in the USA are exactly the places where new zoonoses are likely to be born, and old animal and human diseases thrive. Chlorinated chicken isn't about the taste or being poisoned by chlorine, it's about creating bacteria resistant to all known antibiotics.

28 weeks ago @ http://www.conservativ... - Sam Robinson: How can ... · 1 reply · +1 points

have a look at the definitions of public and private goods.

28 weeks ago @ http://www.conservativ... - Sam Robinson: How can ... · 0 replies · +1 points

certainly to the left of many who leave comments on here, anonymous person.

28 weeks ago @ http://www.conservativ... - Sam Robinson: How can ... · 0 replies · +1 points

thanks. I think readers can make up their own mind.

As most of the commentators on here are well to the right of the current Tory party (in old UKIP land or worse), I agree with you that they wish it harm.

28 weeks ago @ http://www.conservativ... - Sam Robinson: How can ... · 2 replies · +1 points

No. I think quite a few people who comment on here aren't conservatives.

28 weeks ago @ http://www.conservativ... - Sam Robinson: How can ... · 9 replies · +1 points

A sensible article attacked by the usual extremists that prowl here.

Unearned wealth needs to be taxed properly, whether it's held here or offshore.

Land needs to be taxed properly to reflect the change in value when it's developed. Business rates need to be appllied to all businesses, before exemptions are considered.

At the moment the tax system operates in the opposite direction, giving tax relief to the wealthiest in society, helping them pass their wealth on to their successors with the minimum of fuss. It also encourages offshore or onshore tax havens.

Aside from tackling inequality, the tax system needs wholesale reform such that it focuses on supporting public not private goods. This is a key role for the state. A Carbon tax would certainly help tackle the UK's outsize carbon consumption. Removing fossil fuel subsidies and tax reliefs would be the first and most obvious move though.

The tax system could also help the UK improve the quality and environmental sustainability of the food it produces, by using VAT to encourage organic and other agroecology approaches to food production, minimising external costs that are eventually borne by the taxpayer. Pesticide and fertiliser taxes would have the same end result. Tax could also be used to tackle the gross inequalities and abuse suffered by food producers at the hands of the big 4 supermarkets, encouraging short, local food chains.