Construction output rises despite Brexit uncertainty

ONS figures show the UK construction sector grew by 2.1% during September to November 2018 compared with the previous three months.


The government must not be complacent about the damage a ‘no deal’ Brexit would cause amid positive signs of growth in the UK construction industry, says the Federation of Master Builders (FMB).

Published by the Office for National Statistics today (11th January), the increase in the all new work three-month on three-month series was driven primarily by private new housing and infrastructure, which increased by 4.9% and 6.5% respectively.

Construction outputs also recorded an all-time level high in November 2018 in the chained volume measure seasonally adjusted series, with the month-on-month series growing by 0.6%, resulting in the total value of construction output exceeding £14bn for the first time since monthly records began in 2010.

This release in stats is said to be primarily driven by strong growth in private new housing, private commercial new work, and public housing repair and maintenance, which increased by 3.1%, 2.3%, and 5.8% respectively.

Commenting on ONS’s construction output figures for November 2018, Sarah McMonagle, Director of External Affairs at the FMB, said: “The UK construction sector grew by 2.1% during September to November 2018 compared with the previous three months.

“This is despite unparalleled levels of political uncertainty around the very real prospect of a ‘no deal’ scenario.

“However, we are urging the government not to allow these results to create a false sense of security. Since November, political uncertainty has cranked up and is increasing every day.

“A growing and prosperous construction sector will be a distant memory if the government allows the UK to crash out of the EU without a deal in place.”

McMonagle concluded: “The construction industry is also extremely concerned about the government’s proposed post-Brexit immigration system. In the Immigration White Paper, published at the end of last year, the government revealed it will make few allowances for low skilled workers to enter the UK post-Brexit.

“Most tradespeople will be defined as low skilled and therefore will not be permitted to enter the UK, regardless of whether they are from the EU or further afield.

“It is crucial that the government introduces a post-Brexit immigration system that continues to allow us to draw on essential migrant workers or else their house building and infrastructure targets will be totally unachievable.”

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