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Industry bodies call for govt collaboration and warn on skills

Build UK, the FMB and CECA comment on the UK’s decision to leave the European Union.

Build UK chief executive Suzannah Nichol was confident the industry could overcome the challenges of Brexit.

“We can either look at the EU referendum result as a problem for business, or an opportunity,” she says.

“The construction industry is used to facing challenges and we will work with our members, the CBI and government to create a strong economic environment in which everyone in the construction supply chain can, and will, flourish.

“While there will inevitably be a period of uncertainty, stability in the short term is vital to ensure a dynamic, innovative and successful outcome in the long term.”

CECA head of external affairs Marie-Claude Hemming said: “After a lengthy campaign, the UK public has voted to leave the European Union.

“The change in circumstance has unsettled the markets which, if unchecked, may discourage long-term investment in UK infrastructure.

“The UK must act to secure its economy, but growth will only be delivered if supported by world-class infrastructure.

“CECA therefore calls on ministers to now to first stabilise government, then re-establish their commitment to the projects outlined in the National Infrastructure Plan, most notably HS2 and a third runway at Heathrow, to maintain economic confidence following such a substantial change in the UK’s relationship with the European Union and the rest of the world.”

FMB chief executive Brian Berry said: “The UK construction industry has been heavily reliant on migrant workers from Europe for decades.

“It is now the government’s responsibility to ensure that the free-flowing tap of migrant workers from Europe is not turned off.

“If ministers want to meet their housebuilding and infrastructure objectives, they have to ensure the new system of immigration is responsive to the needs of industry.

“At the same time, we need to ensure we invest in our own homegrown talent through apprenticeship training. We need to train more construction apprentices so we are not overly reliant on migrant workers from Europe or further afield.

“That’s why it’s so important the government gets the funding framework right for apprenticeships.

“When you consider that this whole policy area is currently in flux, and then you add Brexit into the mix, it’s no exaggeration to say that a few wrong moves by the government could result in the skills crisis becoming a skills catastrophe.

“It’s only through close collaboration between the government and industry that we’ll be able to overcome these challenges.”



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