As Article 50 trigger looms, RICS says a hard Brexit will damage property sector

If the 176,500 EU construction workers currently employed in the UK have to leave, their loss will be a major "stumbling block" it says.

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors says a hard Brexit may lead to 176,500 EU member state construction workers being forced to leave the UK, or 8% of the total building industry workforce.

As the government prepares to trigger Article 50 and steer the UK towards an exit from the European Union, RICS argues that for Brexit to succeed “it is essential to secure access to the EU Single Market or put alternative plans in place to safeguard the property and construction sector”.

Research by RICS also revealed that 30% of the construction professional it surveyed believe hiring non-UK workers was important to the success of their business.

rics blackburn hard brexit“Unless access to the single market is secured or alternative plans are put in place, we won’t be able to create the infrastructure needed to enable our cities to compete on a global stage,” says Jeremy Blackburn, Head of Policy at RICS (pictured).

“We have said before that this is a potential stumbling block for the Government, which is working to deliver both its Housing White Paper and Industrial Strategy.”

A recent report by Mayor of London Sadiq Khan shows that a significant majority of these EU construction workers are based in London; 100,000 of London’s 350,000 construction workers are from the EU.

Khan also said that the Capital needs an extra 13,000 construction workers every year up to 2021 to keep with demand.

London is in the grip of a serious housing crisis – and fixing it is going to be a marathon, not a sprint,” the Mayor said.

“While we are working to train up more Londoners to have the skills to work in construction, you can’t escape the fact that a ‘Hard Brexit’ could leave a quarter of the skilled construction workforce in the capital high and dry which would have a crippling effect on our plans to build the homes Londoners so desperately need.”

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