Brian Berry is the CEO of the Federation of Master Builders in the UK.
He tells euronews reporter Valérie Gauriat of the concerns of the construction industry over Brexit.
“When we had the results of the referendum last year there was a real concern that the economy would slow down. But the reality was that actually workloads increased in the SME sector, and it was very much business as usual.
We see a slowdown of investment in central London
However the result of the recent general election in the UK have brought about a different result with a sharp fall in sterling which has picked up again.
But now we’re beginning to see trends where the economy is being slowed down, we’re seeing a slowing down of investment in central London for example and we’re seeing inflation creeping up to about 3 percent. So there are warning signs actually about the impact of Brexit.
How will we build the homes and infrastructure needed in the UK if EU labour is cut off?
One of the main concerns we have in the construction industry is having a ready supply of skilled labour. During the financial crisis of 2008 onwards we lost about 400000 people from the construction industry, and to fill that gap we’ve been heavily reliant on EU labour coming into this country. So there’s a real concern now in the construction sector, if that labour is cut off, how will we fill the gap, how will we be able to build the homes in this country, how will we develop the infrastructure if we don’t have people coming into the industry?
The skills crisis can be addressed by developing home grown talents, developing apprenticeship and boosting training. But that would take many years to get the number of people that we require We’ve always had a history of welcoming people in the United Kingdom. We still need workers coming in with skills, and we must maintain that if we’re going to build the number of homes that are needed in the UK and the infrastructure projects that we’re going to need if we’re going to remain competitive outside the European Union.