Construction’s five biggest trade bodies issue no-deal Brexit warning to prime minister

In an open letter to Theresa May, five of the biggest construction trade organisations have issued a stark warning that a no-deal Brexit scenario could lead to a 4% fall in construction output this year and a further 2% drop next year.

Organisation bosses have come together to state how Brexit uncertainty is “already damaging and hampering” ability to do business and are urging the prime minister and politicians to "do their duty" and agree a deal before it’s too late.

The letter is signed by the Association for Consultancy and Engineering, the Civil Engineering Contractors Association, the Federation of Master Builders, the Construction Products Association and Build UK. 

At this point the future is still very much uncertain with the UK set to leave the EU in a month’s time on 29 March. But whether the UK government is able to agree a trade deal with EU before that point, or whether the date for the UK’s exit will be delayed is still unknown. 

More worryingly, industry bosses say a no-deal result would have even graver consequences for the housebuilding and commercial sectors, which would both be expected to fall by at least 10% in 2019.

Leaders say how he immediate effect of leaving without a deal in place is not knowing the cost of the materials and goods that construction projects rely on, or if they will arrive on sites across the four nations to keep projects of all shapes and sizes on track.

While members of the organisations attempt to prepare for an unknown future after 29 March, valuable time is being spent on stockpiling; transportation and logistics alternatives; auditing and guaranteeing the resilience of their supply chains; and vetting contractual risks and obligations.

The report states: “With the impact of the previous financial crisis not forgotten in an industry that experienced countless business failures, plant closings and nearly half a million job losses, the resilience of our industry has its limits. The UK economy mirrors the construction economy and the lack of knowledge and information around the UK’s exit from the EU has already reduced investment and output which will not be recovered.”

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