How Could Brexit Impact the Construction Industry?

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The referendum taking place on the 23rd June is looming ever close and will see Britain make the decision whether to remain in the European Union.  Businesses across the country are prepping for the possibility of either decision, with politicians making cases for both; but how exactly does BREXIT affect the Construction industry?

The impact of the decision to leave the European Union could be detrimental to the continuing success of the Construction Industry. Naturally, the idea that the UK may no longer be a part of the European Union is causing concern among Industry leaders. A survey taken recently by Smith and Williamson found that 85% of construction executives favoured the ‘remain’ campaign – a huge margin compared to the remaining 15% who felt that Brexit will have little negative effects.

Concerns

Fears have been raised that investment into the UK’s industry from external sources will slow down and potentially decrease. A spokesperson from Industry leader, Rider Levitt Bucknall, suggested that many of the major regeneration schemes in the UK may not have happened without external funding from the EU. According to CBI, ‘the annual turnover within the construction industry constitutes of £47 billion’; with the threat of reduced funding opportunities, could this have a significant impact on the future of the construction industry’s success?

The Home Builders Federation has expressed its concerns that skilled labour forces from outside the UK would drastically slow down as a result of Brexit. Research shows that 10% of the construction industry workforce is drawn from outside the UK, particularly from Eastern Europe. Brexit could have a profound effect on this; despite the current heavy focus on training of UK nationals within the industry, the shortage of skilled workers would still be significantly low in relation to what’s needed for the expected building output. Any renegotiation of treaties between European countries could take years, by which time the damage may well have been done.

'Scare mongering'?

However, Persimmon Homes takes a neutral stance on this matter, saying that their work force is predominantly UK based and so this apparent implication of Brexit would have little effect on their company.

Keeping this in mind, CBI states that the UK construction industry is ‘the second most domestically focused major UK sector’ behind the government. CBI explains that even materials produced and manufacturing for the purpose of building are done so domestically. With business matters being dealt with largely in the UK, Lord Bamford, the chairman of JCB, believes that the ‘remain’ campaign is in fact ‘scare mongering’. According to the Building Specifier, Lord Bamford believes that the UK isn’t likely to put up trade barriers, regardless of the decision.

While there have been many pros and cons published in recent literature across all industries and unions within the UK, it seems that the majority of the UK’s construction industry leans towards remaining in the EU.

The referendum will have a staple position in Britain’s history regardless of the decision we make; but whichever you decide, ensure an informed decision on all accounts.

Written By Kayley Loveridge

Sources:

http://www.buildingspecifier.com/how-will-brexit-affect-the-construction-industry-two-views/

https://www.globalcounsel.co.uk/sites/default/files/specialreports/downloads/Global%20Counsel_Impact_of_Brexit.pdf

https://www.news.cbi.org.uk/business-issues

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