21 March 2019

Brexit gridlock could cripple construction

The National Federation of Builders (NFB) is seriously concerned about the consequences of leaving the EU without a withdrawal agreement.

Leaving without well-defined transitional arrangements will leave the construction industry worse off than the financial crisis of 2008, which saw the industry losing more than 250,000 skilled workers.

With the UK currently importing 90% of its timber from the EU, construction SMEs will likely have to pay VAT upfront before receiving the material in the event of a no-deal Brexit. This could potentially lead to cash flow issues and delays in building homes at a time when the UK is still facing the most acute housing crisis since the end of the Second World War. Richard Beresford, chief executive of the NFB, said:

“With all the uncertainty surrounding the Brexit process, the construction industry needs politicians to work together and provide a clear direction so that businesses can plan ahead at a time when the country is suffering from an acute skills shortage.”