'To go green, you must overhaul policies,' warns RICS

THE Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has launched its General Election 2019 manifesto, calling on the future Government to move past Brexit, and to overhaul current domestic policies to build a more sustainable country that future generations can be proud of, and to fulfil aspirations to be carbon-neutral.

A new approach for the built and natural environment, calls for any new Government to put the climate, sustainable construction, placemaking and future-proofed housing policy at the forefront of the agenda. It also includes a clear call to action for the next leading party to take stock of the UK’s top domestic issues and then refocus how the built and natural environment can play a crucial role in future-proofing the UK’s towns, cities and economy.

The manifesto offers over 35 recommendations focussing on three main topics impacting the built and natural environment and its professionals: climate change, housing supply and high street rejuvenation.

Some of the key asks from the manifesto include:

  • Level the stamp duty playing field - undertaking a full-scale review of stamp duty;
  • Make business rates fairer, and easier for small businesses - promoting and supporting a thorough review of the current business rates system to ensure that legislation matching the Non-Domestic Rating (Lists) Bill is reintroduced;
  • Level the playing field between our high streets and those businesses operating primarily on the internet. Government should evaluate the current state of play and assess whether an internet sales tax or similar could be employed to then fund high street renewal; and
  • VAT for repair should be cut - cut VAT for repair, maintenance and improvement works in existing buildings.

Hew Edgar, RICS Head of UK Government Relations and City Strategy, said: “Chartered Surveyors play a leading role in tackling our most pressing domestic issues in the UK; and in key areas of the housing crisis, adapting to our changing environment and mitigating against climate change, and working on our high streets and their rejuvenation. We are keen to see real change in the way government approaches these key issues.

“These sectors, and our professionals who operate within them, are vital to economic development, helping to support stable and sustainable investment and growth across the UK.

“We believe the next government, regardless of configuration, needs to provide a holistic approach to support the built and natural environments. Failure to address the issues highlighted within the manifesto in a planned, cohesive way will have a serious impact on the wider economy, which will exacerbate existing housing and infrastructure deficit, and hinder any aspirations to be one of the greenest countries in the world.”

Full commentary on the parties’ manifestoes and RICS’ full manifesto can be found at rics.org/GE2019

RICS; election; manifesto; politics; construction; brexit;
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