Brexit could result in construction skills shortage says SMP

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The Society of Mortgage Professionals has warned leaving the EU could lead to a critical construction skills shortage

A construction skills shortage could be on the horizon due to Brexit. This warning was delivered by the Society of Mortgage Professionals (SMP), who stated the decision to leave the EU could mean a significant shortage of workers at a time when the industry is most at need.

Some 12 per cent of the construction workforce comes from EU member states. Since the Brexit vote there have been concerns within the sector about its ability to recruit from overseas once the UK withdraws from the EU.

Construction industry acts as “weather vane” for the property market

Lee Travis, head of professional development at SMP, said: “We are in total agreement with The Federation of Master Builders that the construction industry acts as a weather vane for the property market.

“They are saying that almost two thirds of smaller builders are struggling to find bricklayers and more than half are finding it hard to source enough carpenters and joiners.”

He added: “There is a huge skills shortage in the United Kingdom and the prospect of not having easy access to EU migrants post-Brexit could mean that this gap is set to widen. Ideally therefore, we would like to see some official assurance that EU workers will remain in the UK after the split.”

Government fails to meet new homes targets

The government is under increasing pressure to meet housebuilding targets as shortages reach critical levels. However, the government has repeatedly failed to meet the new homes target each year.

Travis continued: “Although no-one can predict what the medium to long-term effects of Brexit will be, we cannot afford to lose momentum at such a crucial time for the UK housing market.

“The House of Lords economic affairs committee recently stated that we need to build as many as 300,000 homes each year to solve the current housing crisis. Any barrier to achieving that objective must be removed.”

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