The Government has indicated that the planning gain supplement (PGS), which has given rise to so much debate in the last few months, may not in fact be brought in at all. The disclosure, speculated on by many property professionals, was first made in the pre-Budget report. A more pointed proviso was inserted into the recent White Paper: Planning for a sustainable future. “If, after further consideration, PGS continues to be deemed workable and effective, PGS would be introduced no earlier than 2009.” The emphasis on that “if” is tangible. And, given that the target was previously 2008, PGS is fast becoming a moveable feast.

On one level the statement may look like little more than a politician’s attempt to leave an exit strategy, but given the extent of criticism both by developers and professional bodies it is probably a sensible move, especially after the Government’s bruising experience with Home Information Packs. Developers are being asked to propose alternative solutions of their own rather than simply criticise what is being proposed. Until a firm decision is made on PGS, those who are interested in this thorny issue can do little more than watch this space!