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Property trade body warns politicians of construction skills risk from hard Brexit

  • 30/05/2017
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Property trade body warns politicians of construction skills risk from hard Brexit
The British Property Federation (BPF) has warned that an incoming government must prioritise construction industry skills shortage as a key part of its Brexit negotiation strategy if the country is going to succeed in building enough homes.

The trade body has launched a manifesto for the upcoming general election highlighting the most important issues to the industry.

The BPF’s five-point manifesto plan for the next government is:

  • Working in partnership with us to maintain business confidence and drive economic growth;
  • Providing a stable and competitive UK tax, regulatory and planning system;
  • Encouraging, funding and enabling infrastructure investment to unlock land and productivity improvements;
  • Working with our industry to ensure we have access to the skills we need for construction and development;
  • Supporting an increase in housing supply across all tenures.

With regard to construction skills, the manifesto states: “Access to the best talent drives the economy and stimulates demand for real estate.

“It is essential that our industry is able to access to skilled construction workers from overseas, while continuing its efforts to develop more home-grown talent and resources. We are ready to work with government to find new ways to solve the current skills shortage.”

In March, Clayton Euro Risk CEO and president Tony Ward warned that a hard Brexit would cut deeper into the construction skills shortage.


Net positive impact

Discussing the manifesto, BPF chief executive Melanie Leech echoed the importance of this point and how it was vital that the sector could access a skilled workforce to deliver on political parties’ housebuilding pledges.

In an interview with the Press Association, reported by Sky News, she said: “Talent is a critical issue to sort and, in our sector, it’s construction skills.

“There are a huge number of workers coming from within and outside the EU currently and, if we’re going to have a really ambitious house-building programme and we’re going to build the business infrastructure we need for the 21st century, we have to make sure we can staff the construction industry.”

“We know that migration has a net positive impact on GDP, they (the Government) know all that, but there is this perception issue on the immigration question and they’re going to have to find a way through that,” Ms Leech added.

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