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RIBA response to the 2016 Autumn Statement

RIBA response to the 2016 Autumn Statement RIBA response to the 2016 Autumn Statement

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has today (23 November 2016) responded to The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond’s, Autumn Statement.

RIBA President Jane Duncan said:

“The Chancellor's recognition that the housing crisis is causing huge damage to the British economy should be a milestone in our political debate. However the Government needs to go much further to tackle the housing crisis. The commitment to support the infrastructure needed to enable house building is welcome, but the Government must ensure that all national infrastructure spending maximises opportunities to build housing. The RIBA has previously called for housing to be added to the remit of the National Infrastructure Commission and I believe that these announcements make the case even stronger. I am disappointed that in highlighting the need to ‘live within means’, the Chancellor did not address the pressing challenge of climate change and urgent need to decarbonise the economy via the new industrial strategy.”

On housing

“The RIBA welcomes the £1.4billion boost to the Affordable Housing budget and the £2.3billion new Housing Infrastructure Fund, which will help pay for the infrastructure necessary to deliver up to 100,000 new homes. Equally important is the announcement that the Government will provide the option for housing associations to use Affordable Housing money to build homes for a range of tenures, not just home ownership products. This will ensure they are better able to build homes which reflect the needs of local people and create sustainable, mixed communities.

“However, it is disappointing that the Government has not gone far enough to entrust local authorities to deliver the homes needed, by allowing them to borrow to build for social housing. Neither has the Chancellor provided any funding for homes for social rent. Both these actions are necessary to ensure that genuinely affordable homes are available for those on low incomes. We look forward to the forthcoming White Paper on housing delivery, which should set out a long-term plan. We hope to see an ambitious, broad-based strategy to deliver the homes our country needs.”

On devolution

“The RIBA welcomes the continued commitment to devolving power and resources to local authorities. However, we need to go further on and faster if we want to truly tackle the challenges that parts of this country face. City devolution offers the opportunity to link housing, transport and infrastructure together to create sustainable, thriving healthy and happy communities. It is crucial that, as part of the developing devolution agenda, they are also equipped with the tools to drive up both housing supply and the quality of new homes.

“England has a proud history of strong civic and business leaders working together to rejuvenate urban spaces and better the lives of their citizens. I'm confident, with the necessary powers and resources devolved from central Government, our new Metro Mayors can build on this tradition.”

On broadband investment

“It is welcome that the Government is looking to boost development of broadband infrastructure. The RIBA and its members are leading the development of digital innovation, supporting solutions such as Building Information Modelling, to solve problems in the built environment. Support for key infrastructure such as broadband means that the SME architects, who make up the majority of the RIBA’s membership, can take advantage of innovations in new technologies.”

On export funding

“The RIBA has been meeting with Government to discuss ways in which UK architects can export their sought-after expertise across the world. It is positive that the Government has today signalled the importance of access to finance and management skills, in order to support the UK’s businesses abroad.”

On sustainability

“The most crucial element of infrastructure, the bricks and mortar of our existing building stock, is missing from the Government’s list of priorities. It is crucial that economic growth is driven, while also addressing national challenges of safeguarding energy security and tackling climate change. For this to happen energy efficiency needs to be fully integrated within the UK’s infrastructure plan to make our housing stock fit for the future.”

ENDS

Notes to editors:

  1. For further information and images contact Nicola Osmond-Evans in the RIBA press office: nicola.osmond-evans@riba.org; 020 7307 3813
  2. The Autumn Statement 2016 and associated documents can be viewed in full here: www.gov.uk/government/organisations/hm-treasury
  3. The Royal Institute of British Architects (@RIBA) is a global professional membership body that serves its members and society in order to deliver better buildings and places, stronger communities and a sustainable environment. www.architecture.com @RIBA

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