FMB Comments on Migration Watch Paper
The Federation of Master Builders has released a comment on the Migration Watch paper that was published earlier this week. The Chief Executive of the Federation has said that the conclusions made by Migration Watch that there is no need for EU workers directly contradicts those who have experience of the construction industry.
The construction sector is experiencing a significant skills shortage that in a number of areas in the country, the consistent flow of EU workers has helped to mitigate with the result of allowing the economy and the industry to continue to grow. After Brexit, the free movement of people will stop, however the Government needs to make sure that they are being both realistic and flexible when assessing the likely need for workers in areas such as the construction industry.
The shortage of skilled workers in the UK construction industry is becoming more of a barrier for SMEs looking to develop and expand their businesses. The lack of skilled workers is also preventing the construction of houses around the UK that are desperately needed in order to reduce the housing deficit.
The Federation of Master Builders has recently carried out research that has shown that over the course of the next three years, with Brexit expected to take place in less than 18 months, and the repercussions of this becomes a reality, it is thought that half of SME house builders will find the skills shortage a barrier to their growth as opposed to more traditional concerns such as the planning system. Research has shown that more than a third of SME house builders currently employ EU workers. This figure rises to 70% in London and the South East. A third of these employers feel that the end of the free movement of workers after Brexit could act as a major barrier to their growth.