Urgent action is needed to ensure the delivery of affordable homes in Yorkshire and Humber, to fill funding gaps for vital infrastructure in the region, and to boost skills to ensure the delivery of both.
So says the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, with members hoping the Chancellor will focus on three key areas to boost confidence in Yorkshire and Humber, in the Autumn statement.
RICS calls on the government to commit to introducing a dedicated Infrastructure Investment Bank, based on the model of the Green Investment Bank, to plug the gap created by a potential loss of the European Investment Bank
By reclassifying Housing Associations as private bodies, the government has given them the freedom to borrow for building; this freedom of action should be extended to Local Authorities too, claims RICS.
The £2bn worth of low-cost capital was a welcome lift for the sector, but the government should now lift the Housing Borrowing Cap to support all councils in Yorkshire and Humber, not just a select few.
The last time the UK managed to build 250,000 homes a year was in 1978 – when councils built 44 per cent of all new homes1. The increased freedom given to councils to build through easier borrowing would enable them to contribute to the target set out in the Housing White Paper – which the government itself said was to address the ‘broken’ sector, claims the surveyors' body.
RICS figures revealed earlier this year that the UK construction industry could lose more than 175,000 EU workers, should we lose access to the single market.
Therefore, RICS calls on the government to develop and communicate a credible plan to retain vital non-UK workers, and avoid the outflow of experience, with an immigration policy that addresses this issue.
Government must recognise their importance to the UK’s ambitions or risk exacerbating the challenges we already face. RICS, working with its members and government is developing measures to address the shortfall, including attracting the next generation of construction workers, encouraging the right types of skills development pathways and improving productivity.
RICS also calls for the introduction of tax breaks and financial incentives to help firms increase skills in areas and industries of low productivity, to broaden workforce development programmes, and to help upskill the current workforce.
Education, training, ethical standards and continuous professional development are essential to ensure infrastructure, housing, and growth needed in the future and to be able to export skills to the rest of the world.