The RTPI has welcomed a new report by the All Party Parliamentary Group for Excellence in the Built Environment which warns that Brexit could prove disastrous for the delivery of new homes and infrastructure unless the construction industry can easily draw on EU workers while it skills up a stronger domestic workforce in the transition.
Stephen Wilkinson, RTPI President, said:
“The report draws attention to an issue which has huge impact on the delivery of much needed housing and the wider economy and identifies some constructive approaches to address the challenges."
“It echoes the Institute’s own concerns for the capacity of planning expertise in the UK after Brexit and that of other built environment professionals such as surveyors and architects. It is essential that the UK built environment continues to act as magnet for the brightest and the best professionals from the EU and across the world. That’s why we are working closely with sister organisations to lobby the Government to ensure access to a skilled workforce during its post-Brexit negotiations.”
RTPI’s shared Brexit priorities
The Royal Institute of British Architects, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, the Chartered Institute of Building and the RTPI represent a combined membership of over 175,000 skilled professionals. Together with the export of professional services and standards and the accreditation of university courses across the globe, their members make a vital contribution to the global success of the UK construction industry - a sector worth over £100 billion to the UK economy.
It is essential that the UK built environment continues to act as magnet for the brightest and the best professionals from the EU and across the world.
Following the triggering of Article 50 and the General Election, these organisations have come together and identified six shared priorities for the Government to address in Brexit negotiations to ensure the UK built environment sector can continue to flourish and grow: access to skills, common stands, research excellence, infrastructure investment, devolution commitment, and community development.
Need to modernise the construction industry
The APPG report points out that an ageing workforce and the fact more people are leaving the industry than entering it are creating a skills crisis even without Brexit. There are nearly 200,000 people from the EU working in the UK which we cannot afford to lose, it says. The report sets out a 12-point plan to deal with the impact of Brexit on skills and for modernising the industry to become more competitive and productive going forward.
The report is calling for:
- Government to stabilise the existing workforce by ensuring existing EU migrant workers are able to remain in the UK and then putting in place transitional arrangements for a period of time so that access to foreign workers does not fall off a cliff edge. There are 194,000 workers from the EU – equivalent to the numbers needed to build 16 Crossrails.
- Industry to get behind an overarching ambition to attract, train and retain a greater domestic workforce, with skills aligned to more modern ways of working.
- Industry to step up to the plate and become future proof, more productive and enterprising by harnessing digital technologies and offsite construction.
Read the full report and its recommendations here.