7 SEP 2022
Our new Prime Minister and her incoming government face considerable challenges around the cost of living including rising energy bills, bringing inflation under control and delivering economic stability.
In her first speech as Prime Minister yesterday, Liz Truss spoke of the need to build roads, homes and rollout broadband faster. Investment in physical and digital infrastructure such as public transportation and broadband will support regeneration and levelling up, and it is encouraging that the Prime Minister has affirmed her commitment to this. We wholeheartedly agree that a crucial priority for the new Prime Minister will also be the need to address the lack of stock across all housing tenures in the UK.
The socio-economic aims of the government’s levelling up agenda will be significantly constrained without the delivery of high-quality housing in sufficient numbers, situated in the right places and constructed to high safety and energy efficiency standards. The creation of a long-term plan for housing linked to infrastructure and tied to community need and population growth would help to deliver much-needed certainty over the future trajectory of housing policy in the UK. We welcome the appointment of the new Levelling Up Secretary Simon Clarke, and we look forward to working closely with the DLUHC ministerial team and officials on many of these issues.
In the meantime, we must seek to optimize our existing and empty housing stock. The climate emergency, coupled with rising costs for householders, provides an ever more compelling case for a comprehensive government programme to retrofit our housing stock. An ambitious retrofitting agenda could make millions of homes warmer and more energy efficient, reduce energy bills and cut our carbon emissions. Recent Research from RICS and YouGov found that while 34% of homeowners said they would invest in green technology to lower bills in the future, 45% would be focusing on using any savings to pay for their existing living expenses, meaning more incentives and cheaper options must be made available if the country is to stay on track to meet targets set for greener homes.
The expertise of the chartered surveying profession across the built and natural environment will be instrumental in assisting the government’s future plans to drive economic growth, regenerate our high streets, towns and cities, and support sustainable development. RICS looks forward to working in close partnership with the new government to deliver on these and other emerging priorities.