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Skills gap will hold back construction

news

12th February 2018

It has been revealed that a shortage of construction workers is ‘sky rocketing’, putting the government’s hopes to build 300,000 new homes under threat. The skills shortage is at an all-time high and coincides with the Hinkley Point nuclear power and the construction of HS2.

Brexit is fast approaching, casting uncertainty over thousands of European construction workers. The FMB chief executive has called on the government to take account of the construction skills shortage, by allowing free movement of people.

Brian Berry, chief executive of the FMB, said: “Without skilled labour from the EU, the skills shortages we face would be considerably worse. It is not in anyone’s best interest to pull the rug out from under the sector by introducing an inflexible and unresponsive immigration system.”

Berry added: “Skills shortages are sky rocketing and it begs the question, who will build the new homes and infrastructure projects the government is crying out for. The government has set itself an ambitious target to build 300,000 homes every year in England alone.

"More than two-thirds of construction SMEs are struggling to hire bricklayers which is one of the key trades in the building industry. This has increased by nearly 10% in just three months which points to a rapid worsening of an already dire situation.”

However, Berry believes those who face redundancy will not be out of work for long: “The silver lining to current skills shortages among construction SMEs is that the numerous tradespeople and professionals, who may find themselves out of work following the collapse of Carillion, have a ready supply of alternative employers.”

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