As government publishes its ‘prospectus’ for a no-deal Brexit, real world stats released by the ONS today (August 23) show how hard constriction has been hit by a fall in vital EU workers.
And that, warns the Federation of Master Builders (FMB), impacts on the sector’s ability to come close to – let alone achieve – government housebuilding targets.
The stats show EU net migration is now at its lowest level since 2012, and that, Sarah McMonagle, Director of External Affairs at the FMB, should be “deeply worrying” for those sectors that rely on EU workers – especially construction.
“Despite the fact that we are still operating under the free movement of people, we’re already seeing far fewer EU workers coming to the UK and a greater number leaving our shores.
“This could be due to financial reasons since the depreciation of sterling following the EU referendum, which means that if these workers are sending money home, or saving up, their UK wages are now worth less.
“It could also, quite simply, be that some EU workers no longer feel welcome,” McMonagle said.
At present, 9% of UK construction workers are from the EU.
In London, this proportion rises to nearly one third.
Some two-thirds of construction SMEs are struggling to hire bricklayers and 60% are struggling to hire carpenters and joiners.
“If the Government wants its new homes and infrastructure projects built, it needs to do more to back up our industry’s message to all EU workers – they are welcome and they do have a bright future here in the UK,” said McMonagle.