One year out from the election and there’s already been a noticeable shift in both major parties.
In a thrilling debut as Shadow Levelling-Up Secretary, Angela Rayner teamed up with the newly appointed Shadow Environment Secretary, Steve Reed, to take a stand against the government’s plan to ditch nutrient neutrality rules in a bid to build more homes. Their message? “Let’s build homes smarter without making our waterways look like a salad bar!”
The nutrient neutrality rules introduced across the EU back in 2017 were designed to stop developers from polluting local wetlands and waterways in protected areas when building homes.
Here’s where it gets interesting – Rayner’s gambit wasn’t your typical political move. It’s a dash of daring!
And it worked – the Tory plan, which would have seen the policy tagged onto the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill, was successfully rejected by the House of Lords over environmental risks.
This has set the stage for a potential battleground in future upcoming elections, where housing and environmental sustainability could become defining issues set in opposition to each other. Michael Gove, the Levelling-Up Secretary, isn’t quite on board, labelling it “political games.”
But Rayner and Reed want you to know that they’re not raining on the housing parade; they’re just adding a dash of eco-responsibility.
The question to be asked now is whether voters will see it as a heroic environmental feat or a political gambit trashing housebuilding opportunities.
Elsewhere, things haven’t got easier for Education Secretary Gillian Keegan, who in her post-controversy encore, is telling education leaders to “get off their comfy chairs” and respond to a survey on crumbling school concrete. This encore follows her previous profanity-laden performance on the reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC) stage.
Whilst the Government has come under criticism for the lateness of this decision (they’ve been aware of and monitoring public sector buildings containing RAAC since 1994), their assertion that “Nothing is more important than the health and safety of children and staff”, highlights the seriousness of the issue.
So, which party’s narrative will capture the hearts and minds of the electorate? Buckle up for the next intriguing twist in the Westminster political saga!