Construction should be ‘key plank’ of industrial strategy post Brexit
Construction and landscaping specialist Crown Group is calling on the Government to ensure the construction sector is a key plank of its future industrial strategy amid concerns that Brexit could see the industry decline.
Former Liberal Democrat MP Lord Stunell, who is leading a review into the impact leaving the EU will have on construction, has claimed a hard Brexit where the UK gives up access to the single market, full access to the customs union, and freedom of movement could reduce the industry output by nine per cent.
The Midlands based Crown Group delivers integrated design, building and maintenance services for construction and horticultural projects as well as operating facilities and environmental management divisions – all of which could be affected by a fall in output.
Managing Director Gareth Emberton says MPs need to support expansion in the sector, now more than ever.
“Going for a hard Brexit could cause a major downturn in the capacity of the construction industry to deliver major infrastructure projects at a time when actually it needs to be growing to meet the demands,” he explained.
“There are legitimate concerns that the overseas labour, on which the construction industry has relied, could be affected by Brexit and this could impact hugely on the ability of businesses to meet the output required for growth.”
Gareth, who is also Chairman of Shropshire Constructing Excellence, the network organisation for construction and supply chain businesses in the region, added that sector contraction would also limit the effectiveness of the Government’s current industrial strategy plans.
“The Government is calling on companies and organisations like ours to help build Britain’s Industrial Strategy and the construction sector will literally be at the heart of building the infrastructure to support and deliver that strategy. Any negotiation on the manner of our exit from Europe must address the issues of free movement of people and goods and foreign labour, otherwise the industrial strategy will be halted in its tracks.
“There is already a skills gap within construction and if that is compounded by Brexit, it will push up costs across the board.
“I would like to see a clear strategy from the Government on how they plan to protect the construction industry and details in next month’s Budget on support for construction employers who are facing numerous challenges currently.”