The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has called on the government to act quickly to ensure Britain’s exit from the European Union doesn’t impact the delivery of infrastructure projects.
The professional body, which accredits professionals within land, property, construction, and infrastructure sectors, highlighted the successful delivery of infrastructure projects because of long term funding from the European Investment Bank (EIB).
With Brexit negotiations now onto the second phase, and an exit schedule for March 2019, the Institution is worried that the potential loss of firms could seriously impact shovel ready infrastructure projects.
Membership to the EU provides funding streams from the likes of the EIB and the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF).
Research from RICS shows that in 2016, EIB investments in the UK hit €6.9 billion, with infrastructure projects using 47% of this money.
In the four years up to 2016, the UK and its many construction and infrastructure projects benefited from over €31 billion of investment.
Total investment from the EIB Group in 2016 hit 8.1 billion, with this funding helping with the delivery of energy, transport, infrastructure and communications projects throughout the UK.
Ultimately, shovel ready projects reached financial close because of this funding and there is a worry that without it, the delivery of developments in the UK will decrease.
As such, RICS says the government “must act promptly” to put measures in place to keep the funding from EIB or “introduce a new lender, or lending mechanism, to plug the gap created from the potential loss of EIB funds, particularly for shovel ready infrastructure projects that are of great importance to the UK.”
RICS is encouraged that the Chancellor announced the establishment of a National Infrastructure Fund, which seeks to emulate the funding support of the EISF – something that is crucial for smaller businesses throughout the UK.
Clearly though, the professional body wants the government to take steps to guarantee funding that will mean infrastructure delivery in the UK isn’t slowed down or ground to a halt.