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Leading trade bodies have come together with one voice to warn the Government of the construction sector’s labour market post-Brexit.

Seven of the construction industry’s major trade bodies have set out what they believe to be the sector’s responsibilities and requirements in a post-Brexit labour market. The Association for Consultancy & Engineering, Build UK, Civil Engineering Contractors Association, Construction Products Association, Federation of Master Builders, Home Builders Federation and National Federation of Builders support the joint Construction Industry Brexit Manifesto.

The document sets out 12 key recommendations to the Government and industry on what it will need from a post-Brexit immigration system in order to be able to deliver the Government’s strategic objectives for new housing and infrastructure, including:

  • The Government should embark upon a communications campaign that makes clear to EU workers currently residing in the UK that they will have no serious impediments to gaining settled status
  • Industry bodies should continue to work with CITB to conduct a construction industry-wide census and other research that provides a clear evidence base regarding skills requirements and future training needs, now and in the longer term
  • The Government should agree a transition period of at least two years as soon as possible during which time EU workers arriving in the UK should continue to have a path to settled status
  • The construction sector should agree what it can realistically achieve in terms of increased training and recruitment of homegrown workers over the next five years based on the industry-wide census

Suzannah Nichol MBE, Chief Executive of Build UK, said: “Construction, like other major industry sectors, has substantial concerns over the impact of Brexit on its ability to recruit, train and retain talent. It is essential that industry works together to present the need for an effective partnership between Government and industry, enabling us to deliver the UK’s infrastructure, homes and communities.”

Prof. Noble Francis, Economics Director at the Construction Products Association, said: “Access to the right skills will be absolutely critical for the whole construction supply chain in the next few years if it is to help Government achieve its aims of building more affordable housing and improving the UK’s infrastructure, which will be vital for boosting UK productivity.”

John Slaughter, Director of External Affairs at the Home Builders Federation, said: “With the Budget having confirmed a target to deliver 300,000 homes a year by the mid-2020s, home builders will need to continue to bring more skilled people into the industry. Companies are building on their existing investment through the successful work of the CITB-supported Home Building Skills Partnership and are committed to doing even more, but to deliver the national social and economic necessity of an improved housing supply we will also continue to need access to foreign workers under a manageable migration system.”