The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) today launched a report , written in collaboration with Frontier Economics, on how the economic contribution made by architecture services to the UK economy could be affected under future trade arrangements between the UK and the EU. Frontier’s economic research shows that architecture directly contributes around £4.8 billion in Gross Value Added (GVA) to the UK economy per year, and a further £1 billion indirectly through its links to other sectors.
The research highlights that the UK is the biggest exporter of architecture services in the EU, with around three-quarters of exports going outside the EU. The UK’s role as a global architectural hub could be badly affected by an outcome in which the UK and EU revert to trade on most-favoured nation terms, with a fall in exports of up to 15% possible. This is because a “hard Brexit” not only implies a loss of market access to the EU, but, more importantly, a loss of global competitiveness as well, primarily because of a loss of access to skills. This in turn reflects the international nature of the UK’s architecture talent pool, with around a quarter of architects being non-UK EU nationals. For this reason, a partial deal that does not include significant commitments to the movement of workers is likely to see exports fall by as much as 10%. The modelling also shows that these effects could be offset if the UK were to negotiate ambitious trade deals with major partners, such as the United States or China, and implement them rapidly.
Frontier Economics regularly advises clients on international trade policy and Brexit.
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