Following the Budget Statement delivered by Alistair Darling, The Chancellor of the Exchequer, yesterday, the Royal Institute of British Architects has released a statement expressing their disappointment.
The Budget highlighted the serious economic situation that the UK faces which will not be good news for architects who are already at the front line, with current estimates showing that 30% of architects are unemployed or under-employed.
While the announcement of £600 million stimulus for housing development appears positive, RIBA President Sunand Prasad advised it would not be enough: “The 2009 budget carries little positive news for the industry amidst a global economic crisis. Regretfully, the Government in the current economic climate has found it impossible to make a significant investment in the long-term future, whether in housing or infrastructure. Amongst the few chinks of light is the stimulus for housing, but the 10,000 homes is a fraction of what is needed."
The Budget also announced the first carbon budget in the world to generate a 34 per cent reduction in emissions by 2020. £375 million is also pledged to support energy and resource efficiency in businesses, public buildings and households over the next two years, and £70 million for decentralised small-scale and community low-carbon energy. A further £405 million was announced to support low-carbon industries and advanced green manufacturing.
“We welcome the setting of the first carbon budget in the world - now the real challenge will be to meet this budget," said Prasad. The scale of the programme for improving the energy efficiency of existing housing is small, yet retrofitting our existing stock is crucial to tackling climate change. We strongly believe a reduction in VAT to 5% for home maintenance and repair would be a low cost measure which would stimulate further employment for architects and other professionals.”