The general consensus around the Autumn Statement seems to have been dismay about tax rises and the plan to add 12p a litre to petrol next Spring.

But, as so often in recent years, few people seem to be holding the Government to account.

In our industry there has also been a reluctant acceptance of the predictable lack of any substantial moves to reform the planning system.

Guests at the Oxford Social last Thursday, which we will report on later this week, were asked to describe the planning system in one word. Suggestions ranged from ‘dysfunctional’ to ‘constipated’ but all were negative.

Earlier the same day the CBI held a conference at the University of Reading which touched on many issues of national and international significance.

The planning system was referred to but so too was the national debt and even immigration. However, what was unsurprising was the lack of long-term answers.

The planning system is slowing development, adding to costs and depriving the country of housing it desperately needs. The national debt is costing £120 billion a year to service. And, while the CBI director general Tony Danker was adamant he wants more immigration, no-one mentioned the Government housing tens of thousands of migrants in hotels with no idea what else to do with them.

Eventually either the hotels will be their permanent homes or they will be given houses. This time bomb will have implications for property but far wider ones for society.

Once upon a time we could talk about the elephant in the room. Now the elephants are crowding out the room since there are so many massive subjects being ignored – and that’s without mentioning the £500bn cost of lockdown, a concept now being disowned by many who had cheered it on for two painful years.

Now they, like the rest of us, have to pay the bill.

But, given the energy debacle, fuel crisis, war, inflation etc, we have so many man-made crises, each with their own bill, you begin to wonder how it was all allowed to happen.

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