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Working together with CIOB, RICS and RTPI to ensure the concerns of our members are heard

25 March 2020

A note from Alan Vallance, CEO, RIBA

Last week I held an online meeting with senior leaders of the Joint Institutes to discuss the impact of COVID-19 on our members, and what more we can do to help.

The Joint Institutes represent a combined membership of over 175,000 skilled professionals in the built environment sector. Alongside the RIBA, members of the Joint Institutes include the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB), the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), and the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI).

The Institutes come together to promote a better built environment across the country, drawing on the skill, experience and talent of our members in the UK and across the world. Although the requirements of the professions we represent are diverse, there are many requirements and concerns that we share. To ensure these concerns are brought to the attention of Ministers and Parliamentarians, we host joint events at Party Conferences and meet regularly to ensure we are up to date with one another.

Following our online meeting, the RIBA, RICS and RTPI sent a letter to the Prime Minister outlining concerns and a series of key asks from government to ease pressure on the built environment as the economic impact of COVID-19 develops.

We encouraged the Prime Minister to ensure that long overdue legislation such as the Building Safety Bill that is due to be published later in the year, is not interrupted as a result of COVID-19. We also highlighted member concerns surrounding the impact of construction site closures and the rapid cancellation of early stage projects on future workloads.

One of our key calls for support from Government included the deferral of VAT, PAYE and Corporation Tax payments for a period of 12 months. I welcomed the recent announcement from the Chancellor to defer the next quarter of VAT payments until the end of the financial year, however I am conscious that this may not be enough and encourage the Government to go further.

We also asked the Prime Minister to provide support for lost wages of employees on reduced time or temporary layoffs, and staff who are temporarily made redundant as a result of COVID-19. While I was pleased that the Chancellor announced plans for a Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme last week, we urgently need information on how the application process will work in practice. The scheme may present an interim solution for salaried staff members however it currently offers no support for the self-employed. Approximately 22% of RIBA Chartered Practices are sole practitioners and without equivalent financial support, many will be at risk.

The RIBA will continue to work with the Joint Institutes to inform Government of cross-industry concerns surrounding COVID-19.

Please feedback any concerns you have as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak by filling in our survey.

Should you have any further questions, please do get in touch by emailing info@riba.org.

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