CONCERNS ABOUT the impact of a no deal Brexit on the UK construction industry are raised by Construction Leadership Council (CLC) in a letter to government requesting more clarity.
Andy Mitchell Co-chair of the CLC wrote to Alok Sharma the business minister asking government to provide “as much certainty and guidance for the construction industry as possible” on no deal Brexit arrangements.
Standards and Regulations
The CLC wants more information on construction product standards and regulations, fearing that if these differ from EU countries’ after the end of the year UK prices will go up and competitiveness down.
The CLC says it has been “reassured” by the Government’s publication of legislation which ensures regulatory alignment on exit day. However, the Government’s advice on the Construction Products Regulation 2019 amended Act in the event of a no deal was withdrawn earlier this year, leaving the industry in limbo.
A “clear longer-term direction” on Government’s intentions for the regulation of products and materials after leaving the European Union is needed for the UK industry, says the Council.
The CLC warns against post-Brexit standards that are inconsistent with the EU or a lowering of standards because “any divergence will inevitably lead to greater complexity, confusion and ultimately cost for UK businesses.”
Ending with a plea for agreeing mutual recognition of EU and British standards, the CLC is asking for extended consultation with industry before any changes are made.
Pointing out that the UK imports billions of pounds more construction materials than it exports, the CLC asks government to start a business information campaign on the likely border arrangements and preparations needed for a no deal.
Skilled and unskilled foreign workers account for approximately 14% of the construction workforce. While some construction trades have been included in the tier 2 skilled work category, such as bricklayers, carpenters and electricians, other roles will not be admitted, such as labourers, dry liners, asbestos removers and some plant operators, despite a clear need for them.
The Government’s proposal for low-skilled migrant labour is the temporary worker route and the CLC is asking that these workers’ UK stay is extended to two years, warning otherwise the industry will be faced with a shortage of labour.