George is fond of the B word
George is fond of the B word
Fresh from an exciting evening at the Olympics, the Chancellor, George Osborne MP, has travelled to Yorkshire to see a brace of booming businesses.

After telling me that 5 gold medals in one day had made "the most exciting day of my life" [reminder to self: must interview Mrs Osborne to ask her opinion of that remark] he processed around KT Hydraulics and Decorative Panels Group sharing his largesse with the assembled directors, suppliers and journalists.

Ironically, the Chancellor had no need of KT Hydraulics' massive lubricating machines as he is a well-oiled machine and brushed off the barbed questions from the hacks with ease.

I launched a quietly spoken but IMHO incisive question about George's proposals to 'streamline' planning consent making it easier to build on green field sites.

"It's all about balance" he replied. "We need to get the economy moving and businesses are being held back by long-winded and out of date planning processes."

But what about rural communities that don't want major developments next door?

And there was the B word again: "We need to balance the needs of the rural community with the needs of the economy to move forward. We need to pay attention to local concerns, of course, but we also need to look at the bigger picture. We certainly need to build on brown field sites wherever possible...".

At that moment he cast a glance around at KT Hydraulics shiny new £2M factory in which we were standing. Built on the ruins of an old mill it houses 18 employees, produces a turnover of £10M and much of that is overseas. He made that point rather well I thought.

So what about checks?

The word is so often coupled with balances. Checks are the mechanisms by which balances are, well, balanced. What's to stop a heavy governmental finger tipping the balance too far in favour of the developers?

I asked the Chancellor "What's to stop the whole country being covered in factories?"

Then, just for the briefest moment, I felt I had his full attention. He paused, thought, and returned to the old dogma. "It's about balance..."

O well. I tried.