Opinion: Contractors need assurances over EU workers

Grant Prior 8 years ago
Share

Let’s try and make life simple for construction in the wake of last week’s Brexit vote.

Does the decision mean there will be less to build and will there still be enough people to actually do the work?

The first question is one of degrees but the more immediate issue is immigrant labour.

Contractors need to know that their workforce isn’t going to disappear anytime soon.

EU workers are a fixture on sites and in offices across the country. Without them the industry would grind to a halt.

Construction companies need assurance that existing workers will be allowed to remain while any new immigration system will be able to cope with demand for both skilled and unskilled labour.

It shouldn’t be hard for the Government to make that pledge.

At a stroke it would remove a massive concern for contractors and give them certainty over future staffing levels.

Demand levels are a more complex question as economic forecasters still seem clueless over how the world will change.

The City has been totally headless since the Brexit vote as traders race to stay ahead of the pack in whichever way the wind blows the market.

In the real world of construction things are a bit calmer. Sites haven’t seized up and project plans haven’t been dumped in a panic.

At one point last week the stock of some of the country’s biggest house builders crashed 40%.

That was nothing to do with corporate efficiency or supply and demand. It was all about market panic and over reaction.

In a post-Brexit UK we are still facing a huge housing shortage.

We might see a correction in over-inflated London house prices but the demand for new homes won’t disappear overnight.

Serious worries remain about investment levels and the possible cancellation of projects on the private and public sides.

Yesterday’s decision to delay a decision on airport expansion was a spectacular own goal by the Government.

Heathrow and Gatwick are desperate to pump billions of private money into building work at a time when the country is crying out for some good news.

So the politicians decide to delay the decision because of planning fears – brilliant.

Let’s hope they show a bit more backbone as the leadership race plays out.

With interest rates at historic lows there is not much else the Government can do to stimulate the economy other than spend its way out of a wobble.

Theresa May is favourite to be the new Prime Minister and she has already pledged to end austerity measures by dumping George Osborne’s target to hit a budget surplus by 2020.

And areas like infrastructure and PRS housing are set to drink in private funding from institutions around the globe as they look for safe investments.

These are uncertain times and we need politicians to stand up and be leaders – that is what they are elected for.

The initial fears of economic meltdown as the UK pulled up the drawbridge to Europe are receding.

All sides of the debate are moving towards a pragmatic compromise.

Who knows we may end up with the ideal world of a free-trade Europe without the burden of Brussels and bureaucracy?

If that’s the case then construction and the whole country could be a winner.

Latest news

RG Group signs £121m Newcastle rental homes job

Developer Olympian Homes advances 519 flats plan at Pottery Lane site
3 days ago

Geoffrey Osborne files administration notice

Contractor in talks to save parts of the business
3 days ago

Winners named for £260m Manchester Uni framework

B&K, Henry Bros, Graham, Robertson and Vinci among new line-up
3 days ago

Shed specialist Benniman rides out market lull

Worcestershire warehouse builder says industrial and logistics work is picking up again
3 days ago

Another contractor cleared after high profile immigration raid

Adana Construction employees were working legally on site swooped on by Home Office
3 days ago

McAleer & Rushe wants to meet new London suppliers

Contractor holding Meet the Buyer event in London: Register now
3 days ago

McAlpine signs £500m Broadgate dual towers deal

Work to start on iconic 36-storey and 21-storey towers
4 days ago

Worker rescued from collapsed four metre deep trench

Fire crews take six hours to save trapped builder near Blackwall Tunnel
4 days ago

Gove puts another major building scheme on hold

Secretary of State starts another planning fight after M&S defeat
4 days ago

Greenwich University tenders £300m framework

Up to five firms will carry out upgrade and newbuild work at three campuses
4 days ago

Work starts on Manchester 26-storey Obsidian tower

Contractor Domis starts Salboy's 10th Manchester scheme in seven years
4 days ago

Race for £1.3bn West Midlands social homes framework

The Community Housing Group reboots tender race for new build housing
4 days ago

Delancey submits £400m King’s Cross lab plans

200,000 sq ft lab/office project will be built above railway and tube tunnels just 4.5m below
4 days ago

Winners revealed for £150m fire safety framework

New deal will help organisations comply with the Building Safety Act
4 days ago

Sellar plans £500m City tower next to Walkie-Talkie

Consultation starts on London 60 Gracechurch Street tower
5 days ago

Severfield ends year on high with record order book

Orders top £500m with strong future pipeline of opportunities ahead
5 days ago

Second senior director exits National Highways

Commercial director Malcolm Dare set to move on to new role
5 days ago

New scheme fuels London lab building boom

Plans in for 160,000 sq ft Whitechapel scheme near Royal London hospital
5 days ago

Contract race starts for next £155m section of A9 dualling

Prior Information Notice published for Tay Crossing to Ballinluig stretch
5 days ago

£55m Sheffield build-to-rent scheme approved

Demolition to start later this year for 158-flat Sheffield Garden project
5 days ago

London back as most expensive place to build in world

Capital leapfrogs Geneva to top costliest construction rankings
6 days ago

Gas supplier Regent to buy TClarke for £90m

£491m turnover listed building services specialist to be sold
6 days ago

Steel contractor Billington launches into bridge market

Steelwork firm hires staff from failed architectural and bridge specialist SH Structures
6 days ago

McGee employees benefit from rise in profits

Pre-tax profit doubles boosting payouts for Employee Ownership Trust
6 days ago

Lendlease veteran is latest new McAlpine director

Paul Sims joins as Operations Director after 40 years at rival contractor
6 days ago

Costain signs site labour supply deal with four firms

Contractor to use only a quartet of providers for temporary labour supply
6 days ago

BAM go-ahead for Leeds 200,000 sq ft office

Latitude Yellow will complete final plot at Doncaster Monk Bridge site
6 days ago

VolkerFitzpatrick wins £30m logistics job

Latest deal to build five distribution units for Prologis UK
6 days ago

Trio win new Scape utilities consultancy framework

Perfect Circle, AtkinsRéalis and Arcadis win places on
6 days ago

Precast firm FP McCann cleared after immigration raid

Home Office takes no action after public raid on construction site
7 days ago

Contractor services