Potentially negative economic consequences cannot be allowed to happen, says federation

The British Property Federation (BPF) has published new research that it said showed 74% of MPs believed Brexit would adversely affect business investment in the UK, while nearly half (49%) believed such an impact was likely to be significant.

The research, undertaken by ComRes on behalf of the BPF, also showed that 71% of MPs believed Brexit would adversely affect the UK’s economic growth, and 59% and 56% thought the same for productivity and retail sales, respectively.   

Given that real estate, at a market value of £1.6trn, underpinned almost all UK economic activity, the BPF called on the next government, whatever its political hue, to work in partnership with the industry to ensure such cross-party sentiment does not become reality.

The next government will need to drive productivity and economic growth across the country to support a successful post-Brexit UK, as well as to tackle critical issues such as increasing housing supply to meet current and future need, the BPF said.

MPs polled did not think delivery of new housing would be impacted by Brexit as much when compared to business investment and economic growth, yet other barriers to housing delivery remained. More than a third (35%) reckoned local authorities did not allocate enough land for homes in the UK.

Support for build-to-rent housing was growing the BPF’s research found, with three quarters of MPs showing support for the sector, or what it called “purpose-built, professionally managed rented homes”.  

Melanie Leech, the BPF’s chief executive, said the research put MPs’ confidence in the UK economy under the spotlight. “Nervousness is not surprising given that we are entering uncertain territory at the start of the Brexit negotiations but we must be careful not to talk ourselves into a self-fulfilling loss of confidence and the next government must take the right actions to build a successful UK economy for the future. 

“Real estate has a significant contribution to make and we urge the government to work with our industry to maintain business confidence in the UK and drive economic growth; provide fair, competitive and stable tax, regulatory and planning systems; invest in infrastructure and free up public sector land; help us to address the skills shortage in our industry; and support more housing supply across all tenures.

“Whatever the result of the general election on 8 June, the next government must maintain momentum on creating an industrial strategy to deliver greater productivity and economic growth, and on taking the right measures to deliver increased investment in housing of all tenures,” she added.