Representing real estate in the changing political context

11 Jul 2017

Policy area: Brexit

Originally published in the BPF Annual Review 2016-17.

The changes to UK governance have been pretty profound in recent years, and such steps seem set to continue.

The vote to leave the EU last year, and the ensuing arrangements for doing so provide us with an opportunity for reflection on the locus of power between central and local government. It seems clear that the EU will, in the long term, no longer be part of our direct advocacy work.

Similarly, the appointment of metro mayors, and an Industrial Strategy Green Paper that celebrates the City Deals, and points to a place-based approach toward encouraging growth and productivity across the country also signals that business, universities and local government will have to shoulder much of the load of securing investment to sustain the UK.

Our role is to affect the operational, financial and regulatory environment that helps the UK real estate sector grow and thrive. To that end, we must go where the government is, and think carefully of the demands that government in all its forms seeks to place upon us.

We must also consider carefully, and be selective in our asks, pursuant to those that will achieve the most impact for our sector and for the wider economy, as the government finds itself in a climate of uncertainty with its resources stretched to accommodate the demands of such detailed negotiations on its future relationship with the EU.

This spirit of engagement and adaptability has been the root of our development of a regional committee structure - you can read more about our work engaging members and decision makers outside London opposite.

It is difficult to determine how inexorable these changes in UK governance are, but it is clear that UK policy making and politics has undergone fundamental change in the last few months and years, with the consequences as such only now beginning to become clear. As government grapples with Brexit, the expertise of our members and of our secretariat is there to provide signal in the noise to government as to what will help to promote growth and prosperity.