A damning RIBA report says that a ‘no-deal’ Brexit could severely damage Britain’s architectural profession
The report, Global Talent, Global Reach, published today, concludes that a ‘no deal’ result could mean £73 million is lost in architectural service exports to the EU every year.
The document says that architecture contributes a massive £4.8 billion to the UK economy annually. It also warns that the UK’s position as a ‘global architectural hub’, which attracts the best EU talent, could be at risk if access to European architects is cut off.
The publication comes one day after Brexit secretary David Davis was widely slated for saying that 50 economic impact assessments of leaving the EU he had been told to publish – including one on architecture – did not actually exist.
Commenting on the report, RIBA president Ben Derbyshire said: ‘Without a Brexit deal that works for UK architecture, we risk losing more of our global talent due to increased costs and economic uncertainty. A no deal Brexit is not an option; it would be a disaster for UK architecture and our built environment, and the government must take this option off the table.
‘This means remaining open to the best and brightest talent from around the world and a new trade relationship with the EU and the rest of the world.’
He concluded: ‘Anything less will lead to a skills exodus, higher costs across the industry and the failure to deliver domestic policies on housing, infrastructure and the industrial strategy all of which rely on our being open for business to international design talent.’
Nevertheless, the report also says that, despite the risks posed by Brexit, there is potential for the UK to grow its architectural services outside the EU by forming new trade deals with China, the USA, India, and the United Arab Emirates. These new markets, it says, could yield minimum returns of £54 million in the first year.
The RIBA is urging the government to take ‘immediate steps’ to protect the British architecture industry throughout the Brexit negotiations. It is calling on parliament to secure a post-Brexit immigration system that allows continued access to EU and global talent, as well as the mutual recognition of architects’ professional qualifications in the EU. It also wants more agreements of this kind for architects in markets in the USA, Canada, Australia, and China.
The institute is also asking for a Brexit deal that maintains market access with the EU, and for the Department for International Trade to expand its scope of supporting medium and small sized businesses globally.
RIBA chief executive Alan Vallance said: ‘Brexit poses a real threat to the profession’s future prosperity. The UK government must make assurances to safeguard our profession post-Brexit by ensuring our members have full access to talent from across the EU and around the world.
‘I want to maintain and build upon London and the UK’s reputation as a global architecture talent hub, attracting the brightest from around the world.’