The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has published its new ‘manifesto’ prior to the English local elections in May 2021. RICS represents over 80,000 surveying professionals from land, property and construction sectors and its manifesto is timed and designed to positively influence future changes to the built and natural environment.
It would be hard to ignore the effects of the past year’s pandemic on the way we now live, and the guidance aims to reflect this, including many people’s newly acquired appreciation of the importance of their home and community and how these influence our lives. Businesses have also been affected and the report considers how business might adapt in the future.
The publication is timed to coincide with local elections around the country and in particular mayoral elections delayed by the pandemic. There are many challenges ahead for elected mayors and councillors – not least because all this is happening for the first time since the UK’s departure from the European Union.
Bodies such as the RICS hope to positively influence how the UK now tackles its own domestic issues, with particular emphasis on ‘building back better’.
There has long been an inadequate supply of quality, energy-efficient and affordable housing, and one key issue is a call for a VAT reduction to 5% over five years for home improvement in order to provide incentives for retrofitted, energy-efficient work in existing homes.
This is considered, along with a stronger focus on how we live and work at home, as well as the effects of the changes to our fast-evolving high streets, lack of strong infrastructure and the effects of climate change.
Housing supply, high street renewal, and construction and infrastructure are all set out in the document, which states:
“Building on our industry expertise, we believe our mayors and local authorities need to:
- create low-cost, low-carbon, safe homes across all tenures;
- commit to retrofitting, repurposing and renewing of high streets to meet the challenges of a post-COVID, sustainably-focused environment;
- embrace modern technologies in construction to create a housing and infrastructure system fit for future needs;
- invest in training, devolvement and upskilling to create a world-leading workforce.”
Read the full publication here.