Surrey Development Forum Venue Entrance

Surrey Development Forum Annual Conference 2023

On 14 November 2023, the Surrey Development Forum held its third annual conference at Sandown Racecourse with a packed agenda featuring over 20 speakers and panellists during the day, attended by over 120 delegates. 

As the 2023 annual conference may be the last before the General Baroness Taylor holding keynote speech at Surrey Development Forum Conference 2023Election in 2024, the Forum invited each of the major parties to deliver their vision for addressing the challenges faced in Surrey. Baroness Taylor of Stevenage (Labour, Shadow Spokesperson for Levelling Up, Housing, Communities and Local Government in the House of Lords) gave the keynote speech for the conference, outlining how a prospective Labour government would approach planning with the aim to address the housing crisis.

Baroness Taylor renewed Labour’s commitment to build 1,500,000 new homes in the next Parliament, in effect promising to deliver the Conservatives’ existing ambition of 300,000 homes per year. This was questioned by a Liberal Democrat councillor in the room, who asked how Labour had reached that number – the Liberal Democrat target is 1,900,000 homes in the next Parliament with 750,000 social homes. Both targets would be ambitious and a significant increase on current housebuilding trend if they were to be achieved. 

Delivery at such scale will depend on upskilling the workforce, which delegates were keen to hear more of. Baroness Taylor told the conference that a Labour government would put forums such as the Surrey Development Forum ‘in the driving seat’ for skills, with a transition plan for bringing up skills before new technical colleges come online. 

The Surrey Development Forum will be writing to Labour, the Conservatives, Liberal Democrats and Greens ahead of the next General Election to set out the challenges our members see in Surrey. At the conference, delegates drew up a wishlist of policies for parties to consider while they are deciding their platform for the 2024 General Election, which will be summarised and shared with each of the four parties. 

See below the full agenda for the day, and watch this space for details of the next Surrey Development Forum event coming up in 2024. 

2023 SDF Conference Agenda





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