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News & opinion

7 MAR 2018

RICS responses to Brexit consultations

Across the UK, governments and parliaments are seeking views of the public via consultations and calls for evidence.

RICS responds to consultations that are most relevant to our sectoral remit and Brexit priorities.

Migration Advisory Committee call for evidence on EEA-workers in the UK labour market

In October 2017, we submitted our Response to the Migration Advisory Committee Call for Evidence on EEA-workers in the UK labour market. RICS used to opportunity to highlight concerns and policy recommendations specific to the Economic, Social and Fiscal Impacts section in the call for evidence. RICS used the Upping the Ante on Skills report, which considered the keys issues surrounding the debate on skills in the UK, and our quarterly Construction and Infrastructure Market surveys as both evidence to support our views and a foundation for the response.

Key points

  • Any changes to the free movement of labour and construction professionals could have a negative impact on the construction sector’s capacity to build the housing and infrastructure that the UK need, and results in higher project expenditures where labour demand outstrips supply.
  • Construction workers and built environment professionals, such as quantity surveyors, need to be added to the UK occupation shortage list.
  • Similarly, with the construction sector facing a retirement ‘cliff edge’, industry needs to ensure it can inspire new talent into the profession using age-appropriate and inspirational campaigns that appeal to a greater cross-section of society.
  • Even if sector participants establish a significant training drive – which obtains the required 230,000 new recruits there will be a continued shortage during the immediate years following Brexit , as a minimum.
  • This cavity between current and future construction industry talent needs to be addressed in the immediacy and made a top government priority in Brexit negotiations.

RICS responds to NI Affairs Committee call for evidence

RICS as a member of the Northern Ireland Construction Group (NICG) jointly submitted a Response to the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee Call for Evidence on the impact of Brexit in Northern Ireland. RICS used to opportunity to highlight concerns of Brexit to the Northern Ireland construction sector, which still remains significantly below pre-recession levels unlike elsewhere in the UK where investment levels had recovered. To provide an evidence base, RICS references our quarterly Construction and Infrastructure Market surveys and Commercial Property surveys to support the wider views of the NICG in the joint response.

Key recommendations

  • UK government to maintain free movement of people, goods and services between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland ensuring adequate time for businesses to adapt to any new arrangements.
  • Provide tariff and barrier-free access to the single market.
  • Ensure no restrictions of movement within the UK between NI and GB.
  • UK government to provide clarity on how it intends to replace the EU funding of capital projects beyond the commitments given to date – see our Brexit Position Statement on Infrastructure
  • NI executive should identify and communicate to industry any planned construction projects that would be impacted if no replacement for this EU funding was forthcoming.
  • UK government to retain access for Northern Ireland to loans from the European Investment Bank or to provide an alternative but equivalent source of loan funding.
  • UK government and the NI executive to ensure that the needs of the Northern Ireland construction sector is represented in areas such as procurement and health and safety, when consideration is given to any divergence from retained EU law after departure.
  • UK government and the NI executive to put in place additional measures to help companies in the construction sector in Northern Ireland benefit from the increased opportunities available in the Republic of Ireland.
  • UK government to add construction workers and built environment professionals to the UK occupation shortage list as soon as possible – see RICS’ Brexit Position Statement on Construction (Skills).