Greedy Paul (Uppal) managed to ooze a question in towards the end, after all the intelligent MPs had got one in (about 28 minutes in)
Did Paul ask what would happen to fine institutions like The Hegemon once students face debts of £80,000? No. Did he ask about the impact of child benefit and other benefit cuts on people made unemployed by a desperately deep recession? No, he didn't.
Did he ask the Prime Minister to cut taxes on empty commercial property?
Yes, he did.
Did he mention that he owns £8-10 million worth of commercial property?
Don't be silly. Apparently, he thinks that letting landlords of tax on properties they'd rather keep empty than drop rents on will somehow 'regenerate' the West Midlands.
His selfish quest knows no limits. Still his masters will be well pleased.
How does the British Property Federation see democracy? Apparently, as one more commodity to be bought and sold, and the public as a hindrance: They're not keen on the environment either:
The BPF survived the conference season unscathed having found the Conservatives happy, Labour in shock, and the Liberal Democrats surprisingly chipper, staring down the barrel of possible electoral annihilation with a smile beneath their beardy faces, and gently bemused at the reversal of fortunes that saw Labour protesters turn up at their conference this year, rather than the other way around.
In Birmingham, we hosted a select, medium to swanky dinner at the Conservative conference attended by councillors from London and Kent, the new chair of the All Party Urban Development Group Paul Uppal MP, and some esteemed members. It was a useful opportunity to get inside the minds of local authority leaders (it’s less scary than you might imagine) and will prove valuable as we work out how to adapt to localism.
One welcome clarification was that, planning authorities will not be dictated to by sub-local authority “communities” when drawing up local plans. Community plans will in effect be suggestions and councils will have the responsibility to knit them all together into a hopefully coherent whole.
This was useful, as the definition of “community” had been somewhat confused at the Lib Dem conference in Liverpool, with CLG minister Andrew Stunell floating the idea that “communities” did not even have to tally with geographic areas, for example how about a plan drawn up by the Muslim community? Or by those who like cheese?
They're not keen on the environment either:
And Eric Pickles repeated that where no up-to-date plan was in place, there would be a presumption in favour of sustainable development, although the definition of the words “presumption”, “favour”, “sustainable” and “development” is presumably still up for grabs. “In” and “of” we feel fairly comfortable about.
Delightful. What a great few years we have to look forward to.