EU Migrants shown to have significant impact on construction industry in UK
Research carried out by construction consultants Tower Eight has indicated that the impact on the construction industry following Brexit could be significant due to a reliance on EU workers. In fact, their research shows that the impact has already increased costs.
The industry consists of around 8% of EU workers, however, in London, this figure is as high as 28% of the 3 million people employed in total. These workers are employed as general labourers, but many are employed in more professional roles such as architects, quantity surveyors and project managers.
Around 35% of those they questioned stated that Brexit was already causing a shortage and this shortage in labour appears to have increased significantly since 2013. This has caused pressure on the delivery of projects and costs.
It has been estimated that a soft Brexit could result in a UK GDP fall of 3.5%, while a hard Brexit would mean a drop of more than 8%. Urban areas are expected to be harder hit and infrastructure projects could be undeliverable, according to some experts.
James Morris the managing director of Tower Eight points out that flexible labour is important to the construction industry. He says that failure to import labour will make it hard to reach commitments for construction, house building and infrastructure. The Brexit effect on the GBP has also had an effect with costs starting to climb.
He does say that once the UK leave the EU there may be less competition for government work, but the government needs to recognise the dual challenges of an ageing workforce and a lack of skilled labour in their plans to deliver more housing.