MIPIM could not have been better timed this year. It immediately followed what has been arguably one of the busiest times for UK policy – with government spearheading its Brexit Bill as well as launching proposals for a modern Industrial Strategy and the eagerly anticipated Housing White Paper. So, the global real estate conference gave the industry a much-needed opportunity to come together and take stock after what has been a year riddled with unprecedented change.
While Theresa May has just confirmed she’ll trigger Article 50 on 29 March 2017, UK government significantly increased its presence at MIPIM to ensure the global investment community understands this doesn’t mean the UK’s doors are closed. We were very pleased to be the UK government pavilion’s official partner at the conference this year, particularly as it was the government’s first ever MIPIM pavilion – signalling their support for the real estate sector and its role in building a positive future for the UK economy in a post-Brexit landscape.
Collaboration was at the heart of government’s approach, a modus operandi equally intrinsic to our own vision. We were at MIPIM with a packed schedule of events, media briefings and ministerial meetings to showcase the UK real estate sector and the need for long-term strategic partnership with UK national and local governments to deliver economic growth, essential infrastructure and great places.
This positivity was reflected in the general mood at this year’s event, unlike last year where downpours and the Budget seemed to dampen spirits, Cannes was back to its usual sunny self and delegates were feeling optimistic about the UK’s position on the global stage. This was not a feeling reserved for the British contingent in attendance – a CEO of a private equity firm in Belgium told me it’s imperative that the UK and Europe negotiate a win-win situation, and if they don’t, both sides are going to lose out. Collaboration and resulting confidence was a common trend discussed by delegates from all corners of the globe as the recipe to success for all.
Indeed, it was great to see the Midlands’ cities come together to have their own joint pavilion at the event, next to the UK government’s pavilion as well as others from London, Manchester, Newcastle and Belfast. The message was loud and clear – London’s global brand will be preserved, but the UK has a plethora of regions and cities where opportunity is rife and the fundamentals that made the UK a great investment in the first place will prevail.
Our events this year included partnerships with the UK government, Addleshaw Goddard, GVA, Capita, Barton Willmore and RealService over the course of the week. Discussions and panels included innovation and disruption, how the UK will remain relevant post Brexit, and the need for integrated planning to ensure balance between housing and other sectors to create sustainable communities. A fantastic turnout from the UK real estate industry, the international community and government allowed for fascinating debate on what we need to do to safeguard our shared future, ensuring we are in a position to make decisions now if we are to have the physical infrastructure to support a thriving post-Brexit UK economy.
Our role in shaping this outcome is evident, given the real estate industry contributes around £95 billion to the UK economy every year and supports most (if not all) industries, and so the year ahead is likely to keep us busier than ever. We are however already looking forward to MIPIM next year – where we hope to see the Brexit process well underway, providing certainty to businesses and impetus to continued investment in UK real estate.