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Press release

25 NOV 2020

Overdue policies coming into view – RICS response to CSR

Christian Cubitt - RICS UK & Ireland Director of Communications and Engagement, said:

The Chancellor was right to warn of the economic emergency facing the country. As the positive news about the rollout of a vaccine gives us a roadmap out of the health crisis, today’s statement is an attempt to set a clear course to rebuild our economy.

Now must be the time for the Prime Minister’s promise of “colossal” investments in infrastructure to be delivered. And today the Chancellor started to do just that.

The announcement of a UK Infrastructure Investment Bank, a historic RICS policy ask of Government, is long overdue but gladly welcomed. With the right remit, objectives and funding mechanisms, this bank could not only replace EIB funding (that will likely be lost following the end of the Brexit transition period), but it should provide patient capital that can encourage and stimulate private investment in UK PLC, especially if it's decision making procedures and procurement methods are founded upon RICS’ Cost Prediction Professional Statement and the use of ICMS, respectively. We also heard that the elusive and long awaited National Infrastructure Strategy has finally been published.

Other positives include the levelling up agenda - long promoted by RICS – which could also “stretch out” economic development and opportunity across the UK as well as promoting and supporting innovation and job creation. This, combined with the investment in housing, offers a real opportunity to create communities where people want to live and work. This needs to be accompanied by real vision on how we reimagine our town and city centres. The move by so many businesses to flexible working models allied with the change in the retail and commercial markets, means that levelling must be done with an eye on the future not the past.  RICS professionals up and down the country stand ready to work hand in hand with local communities to get these projects delivered.

The increase in funding for skills and apprenticeships looks encouraging, though we will need to consider the detail to ensure that this truly drives up opportunity for people of all ages to retrain and reskill to take advantages of new opportunities.

Amongst these positives, a concerning omission, however, was a cut in VAT for repair, maintenance and improvement for domestic properties. The benefits of the proposal are well-recognised by sectoral leaders – most notably an immediate uplift in support for SMEs across the UK, and assistance for the Government in reaching its climate change targets.”

John Bayliss

Senior Media and Campaigns Officer

Direct: 0207 695 1540 Email: jbayliss@rics.org

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