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RIBA manifesto targets election

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The RIBA is set to make a series of demands on the government when it unveils its Manifesto for Architecture to coincide with the forthcoming election.

Among the more radical requests in the document - which is still confidential - is a demand that the government makes funding for public construction projects conditional upon good design.

Other elements include increased investment in the planning system, lower VAT for refurbishment, the appointment of more city architects and design advisers, and the introduction of stamp-duty relief on the sale of sustainable homes.

The RIBA is also keen to see the built environment play a bigger role in education. The document calls on the government to ensure that the National Curriculum integrates architecture and design into school teaching. The document was drawn up after extensive consultation with the institute's membership. Each architect was asked to send in three ideas that would shape the manifesto's content.

The manifesto's introduction - signed by president George Ferguson and president-elect Jack Pringle - insists that architecture can influence political success. 'There are votes in architecture, ' the introduction says. 'It governs the quality and safety of our hospitals, schools and neighbourhoods.

'Politicians have begun to understand the need to place design at the heart of services, but the call to act is urgent.

'Our message for the election is simple, ' the introduction adds.

'It's time to deliver better public services. It's time to deliver on sustainable communities and it's time to deliver on design.' And a source close to the document at the RIBA agreed, saying that sending the manifesto to all political parties would influence the political agenda.

'This could make a real difference to the way that politicians look at the election. We want to attempt to put design as high up the agenda as possible. With the election forthcoming, it is important that the institute and the wider profession try to make an impact on a national level, ' the source added.

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