Does the Spring Statement mean pennies are dropping in government?

Julia Park

The government finally seems to be taking notice of the profession’s outcry about permitted development

With Mipim, the Chartered Institute of Housing conference and Futurebuild all taking place in the middle of March, conference season is now over for another year. You need to be a certain kind of person to enjoy these events: good at small talk but ready for big talk – and able to cope with being internalised in a soulless, noisy environment for hours on end. It’s a weird contrast to a normal day at the office, but I guess the change of routine, the escape from Brexit and the partying are all part of the attraction.

This year I just did the opening day of Futurebuild (formerly EcoBuild). The vastness of the ExCel in east London, with its bright lights, full air-con, poor acoustics and thousands of disposable coffee cups, always seems particularly inappropriate for an event focused on environmental sustainability. The experience itself is like speed-dating in an airport waiting lounge.

The midday session, The Construction Leadership Challenge: Delivering on the Ambitions of the £420m Sector Deal, was interesting in more ways than just the content. Reflecting on the line-up, the chair, Andy Mitchell (co-chair of the Construction Leadership Council and CEO of Thames Tideway), pointed out that the speakers were all of “a similar age”, and not only knew each other, but also 80% of their audience.

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