Commenting on the new construction output figures published by the ONS today which show a fall in output, Michael Thirkettle, Chief Executive of leading interdisciplinary international construction and property consultancy McBains Cooper, said:
“Today’s figures show a real recovery for construction is fragile at best, in a week where the Spring Budget brought news of national insurance rises and loss of tax relief on dividend payments to hit the self-employed in particular, which includes 167,000 construction workers – people who are vital for ensuring the government’s housebuilding targets are met.
“In the short to medium term, worries over Brexit remain a constant. We stand to lose a significant number of the 12% of UK construction workers who come from EU countries as a result of Brexit, which means we will be in a parlous situation.
“Building new homes to meet the government’s targets for solving the housing crisis are already significantly behind and the recent Housing White Paper really didn’t do enough to make planning processes simpler or free up more land.
“While the Budget announcement of the new T-Levels – putting technical qualifications on a par with A-levels – could do much over the long term to bridge the skills gap, we’re going to have to do more in the meantime to discourage UK workers from leaving the industry and European workers concerned over Brexit from throwing the towel in and returning home.”