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Press release

2 OCT 2019

PM Speech: Big in vision, small in content

This was a big picture speech from the Prime Minister, designed to rally the party membership and pull the country together. A sense of optimism emitted from the PM on what a post-EU UK would look like and how it will operate – emphasising increases in free-trade and a more global outlook – but domestic policy was lacking.

"Let's get it done" was the overarching message from the Prime Minister's speech and throughout the Conservative Party Conference. His intent was clear: the UK will leave the EU on 31 October "come what may". Whether this is with a reformed, PM-manufactured deal which has introduced new measures to tackle the Irish border conundrum, or without a deal, remains to be seen.

Brexit unsurprisingly dominated Boris Johnson's first speech as party leader; much as it has dominated the UK agenda since 2016. The uncertainty arising from Brexit has limited any real focus on domestic priorities, which is holding back individual business and personal investment decisions. That's why many in the business community would agree that Brexit needs to get done as soon as possible, preferably with a deal, as it will unlock the investment log jam.

Aside from Brexit, domestically, the Conservative Leader's speech was very light in new announcements and policy, and lighter on the details. Although, observers heard that delivering Brexit will be followed by a drive into the Prime Minister's domestic priorities; priorities of interest to RICS including: devolution, climate change, infrastructure and housing.

Handshake-business-pexels
The Prime Minister remained clear in his intention for the UK to leave the EU at the end of October, whilst addressing priorities that impact the built environment

Devolution and Infrastructure

While there was no new announcements, the PM reiterated his commitment to investment in transport and broadband infrastructure across the country, particularly in the Midlands and the North of England. A move he claims will improve productivity and rebalance the UK economy. This has been the government's message for some time and it's being put into action by the metro mayors in the parts of the country with combined authorities and city deals. The focus now needs to switch to further devolution deals to ensure the rest of the country can enjoy those benefits.

Climate Change

Leading up to Boris Johnston's speech, the Conservative Party set out their road map to achieve the toughened up target of the UK reaching net zero emissions by 2050.

The range of measures in the net-zero package, from tree planting to low carbon technologies in house building, followed the raft of recent environmental commitments by the Prime Minister; including to double International Climate Finance. It was unsurprising to hear the PM's reference to buses on the green clean agenda.

RICS would urge that all transport announcements ranging from electric vehicle manufacturing to investment in roads infrastructure, are strategic and integrated in their planning, delivery and operation. ICMS 2nd edition is a game changer in providing decision-makers with better tools to analyse the impact of their investment in construction, and across the full life-cycle of the built asset; and we would urge its adoption across both Government and industry.

In the face of a climate crisis, and looking ahead to the UK-hosted COP in 2020, RICS expect a heightened dedication to climate change related Government policy and are ready to provide support to both Government and industry through the introduction of new global standards, professional guidance, and as champions of innovation across the built and natural environment

Read RICS' detailed responses to the Conservative party proposals on climate change and infrastructure.

Climate Change

Leading up to Boris Johnston's speech, the Conservative Party set out their road map to achieve the toughened up target of the UK reaching net zero emissions by 2050.

The range of measures in the net-zero package, from tree planting to low carbon technologies in house building, followed the raft of recent environmental commitments by the Prime Minister; including to double International Climate Finance. It was unsurprising to hear the PM's reference to buses on the green clean agenda.

RICS would urge that all transport announcements ranging from electric vehicle manufacturing to investment in roads infrastructure, are strategic and integrated in their planning, delivery and operation. ICMS 2nd edition is a game changer in providing decision-makers with better tools to analyse the impact of their investment in construction, and across the full life-cycle of the built asset; and we would urge its adoption across both Government and industry.

In the face of a climate crisis, and looking ahead to the UK-hosted COP in 2020, RICS expect a heightened dedication to climate change related Government policy and are ready to provide support to both Government and industry through the introduction of new global standards, professional guidance, and as champions of innovation across the built and natural environment

Read RICS' detailed responses to the Conservative party proposals on climate change and infrastructure.

Housing

RICS welcomes the acknowledgement within the Prime Minister's speech of the need for a "virtuous circle" within our communities. This will ensure that the delivery of housing isn't just numerical, but focused on delivering the infrastructure that homes need, including broadband, as well as businesses and jobs for those who live there, and a sense of safety and community.

The delivery of housing on brownfield is always the optimum choice, and the recognition that opening up these sites with supporting soft and physical infrastructure was a welcome acknowledgment from the Prime Minister.

However, RICS would urge the Government to fully recognise the very important role placemaking plays, and to support local communities with funding for planning departments. This investment will enhance master planning, which will result in the homes developed on brownfield are the homes the UK needs, in the tenures and places needed, with the supporting social and physical infrastructure.

RICS office, westminister, building, 230118, SB
RICS are committed to acting in the best interests of the PM's domestic priorities