RICS tells government to step on devolution accelerator in the West Midlands

Sean Tompkins

Chief Executive Officer (RICS)

Devolve more power to the West Midlands so Birmingham can reach its true potential as a world class city is the rallying call from RICS, as it underlines its commitment to the city by opening new offices at 55 Colmore Row.

55 Colmore Row

With regeneration advancements set to continue across the West Midlands in preparation for the arrival of High Speed 2 trains at Curzon Street, and the Commonwealth Games, RICS believes government should give even more powers and funding to Mayor Andy Street and his team.

Andy Street’s record in his first year of office is a testament to devolution. He has secured more funding for housing, local infrastructure projects and for skills and training and started to tackle the serious problem of homelessness.

The West Midland’s Combined Authority’s ambitions to create 2.4m new jobs, almost 2m new homes and another 20,000 more companies sends out a message across the world that the region is very much open for business.

Given the evidence so far, including the attraction of HSBC and Channel4 to Birmingham, we hope the Prime Minister shares our confidence in the future and commits to even more devolution to ensure decisions are taken in the West Midlands for the people of the West Midlands.

Colmore Row has been part of commercial Birmingham for almost two centuries and even survived an attempt to demolish it by the ‘infamous’ Sir Herbert Manzoni who levelled large parts of the city in the name of progress during the 1950s, 60s and 70s.

As we celebrate our 150th anniversary this fantastic building, steeped in historical context, is now an integral part for the future of this city and for RICS.

It is an exciting time for us to expand here and having long supported regional devolution it is great to see the West Midlands proving how successful this can be.

Future talent

Skills and standards are a major focus for RICS who firmly believe standards attract investment. Projects delivered using international standards as their benchmark set themselves against world leading cities and not only attract investment, but talent.

Cities are recognised as the wealth generators of the regions and the key to providing the best built environment for that to occur is that we must attract and nurture talent to deliver these aspirations.

Augmented reality, big data and urban connectivity will all feature heavily in the future of our cities, but without the fundamentals of infrastructure, housing and prosperous job markets these ambitions will be out of reach and will hamper future growth.

RICS office launch

Business leaders will explore devolution and investment in Birmingham in more detail at the official RICS office launch with a panel event, within participants including Mayor Andy Street, RICS CEO, Sean Tompkins and RICS President, John Hughes on Monday 11 June.

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