• Osborne to chair committee to remove planning ‘roadblocks’

    5th September 2012 | News | Claire
  • George Osborne is to chair a new growth implementation cabinet sub-committee, as Downing Street seeks to build momentum after the cabinet reshuffle.

    The government is due to make a series of growth announcements on Thursday, but the new growth committee, a sub-committee of the economic affairs committee, is designed to review roadblocks in Whitehall, local government and planning regulations holding back growth.

    Vince Cable, the Liberal Democrat business secretary, will act as the chancellor’s vice-chair on the committee. Meetings will also be attended by Kenneth Clarke, the former justice secretary, and David Laws, the new education minister and Mr Fix-it for Nick Clegg, across Whitehall.

    Full membership of the committee has not yet been resolved but it is expected that the new growth implementation minister, Paul Deighton in the Lords, will attend after his perceived success as London 2012 chief executive. The former Goldman Sachs banker is replacing Lord Sassoon in January.

    It is understood Sassoon, whose official title is commercial secretary to the Treasury, had indicated a desire to return to the private sector.

    There has been a long tradition of trying to find men with private sector expertise capable of forcing policy through in the construction sector. Lord Macdonald of Tradeston undertook a similar role in the Labour government.

    There has long been a frustration in Whitehall at the slow pace of capital and infrastructure spending, including the difficulty of getting projects given the go-ahead actually built.

    It is not clear if the committee will discuss macro-economic or monetary policy, or instead will confine itself to implementation of polices agreed elsewhere in Whitehall.

    Osborne has already signalled he would like a second review of planning laws.