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RIBA draws up manifesto to push design to the centre

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With three months to go until the likely date of the general election, the RIBA is drawing up its own mini-manifesto to persuade politicians that architecture is central to the mainstream election issues of health, education and housing.

The strategy will couch policies in terms of the issues which are expected to figure in the main battles of the election campaign, and represents a move away from the profession's usual campaign targets of the planning system and urban regeneration. RIBA strategists think these have reinforced Westminster opinion that the profession is defending its own self interest.

President Marco Goldschmied, chief executive Richard Hastilow and parliamentary liaison officer Jonathan Labrey have drawn up the strategy.

'Planning and urban regeneration are simply not going to be big issues in the election, ' said Labrey, an experienced lobbyist. 'Our approach will be focused on the key issues of interest in the election and where architects can have a real impact on them, ' added Hastilow.

For example, growing fears in the profession that reforms of public-sector building procurement are damaging business for small- and medium-sized practices will not be tackled head on, but will be expressed as how architects can help improve NHS or schools standards in general.

Calls for an urban regeneration bill, planning reform and cuts to VAT to help regenerate brownfield sites and refurbish buildings will be relegated to minor points.

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