David Cameron vows to crack down on appeals that delay new laws, planning decisions and policies

 

David Cameron has pledged to make it harder for opponents of development to hold up planning decisions while streamlining the Government’s equality rules in an attempt to boost the economy. 

In a speech to the CBI the Prime Minister said opponents of planning decisions and policies would be given less time to apply for judicial review, face higher fees and see the chances to appeal halved.

He also said Government Equality Impact Assessments for new laws would no longer be compulsory, and consultation periods would be slashed.

Mr Cameron said judicial review had become a “massive growth industry” which was delaying action and costing taxpayers too much money.

“We urgently needed to get a grip on this,” he said. “So here's what we're going to do: reduce the time limit when people can bring cases; charge more for reviews - so people think twice about time-wasting,“ he said.

“And instead of giving hopeless cases up to four bites of the cherry to appeal a decision, we will halve that to two.”

Mr Cameron said the Equality Act was “not a bad piece of legislation but that the Government spent too much time “assessing” rather than doing.

“Government can still be far too slow at getting stuff done. The Minister stands on a platform like this and announces a plan, then that plan goes through a three month consultation period, there are impact assessments along the way and probably some judicial reviews to clog things up further.

By the time the machinery of government has finally wheezed into action, the moment's probably passed.

Government has been like someone endlessly writing a 'pros and cons' list as an excuse not to do anything at all.

Consultations, impact assessments, audits, reviews, stakeholder management, securing professional buy-in, complying with EU procurement rules, assessing sector feedback - this is not how we became one of the most powerful, prosperous nations on earth.

He added that the move was not about making it easier for Government policy to discriminate – but rather speeding up the process and cutting back on unnecessary bureaucracy.

“Let me be very clear. I care about making sure that government policy never marginalises or discriminates. I care about making sure we treat people equally. But let's have the courage to say it - caring about these things does not have to mean churning out reams of bureaucratic nonsense.

“We have smart people in Whitehall who consider equalities issues while they're making the policy. We don't need all this extra tick-box stuff.

“So I can tell you today, we are calling time on Equality Impact Assessments. You no longer have to do them if these issues have been properly considered.”

Mr Cameron said that too often ministers announced policies which then got bogged down in Whitehall red tape.

“When we came to power there had to be a three-month consultation on everything - and I mean everything, no matter how big or small,“ he said.

“So we are saying to ministers: here's a revolutionary idea - you decide how long a consultation period this actually needs.

“If you can get it done properly in a fortnight - great. Indeed, the Department for Education has already had a consultation done and dusted in two weeks.

“And we are going further, saying: if there is no need for a consultation, then don't have one.”

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