UK Construction Media

One in four construction workers in London are from EU

News   •   Feb 28, 2017 09:47 GMT

The construction industry in London would be ‘crippled’ by a hard Brexit according to a new report released by the Mayor of London.

In his ‘Housing in London’ report, Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, spelled out the consequences for the housebuilding sector should the government fail to retain the services of workers from the EU following Brexit.

Almost 100,000 (one in four) workers, in the capital are from the European Union and their absence would significantly impact infrastructure, housing and commercial developments in London.

Mr Khan expressed his concern on what the impact of a hard Brexit would mean for the construction industry.

He said: “When I speak to businesses – both large and small – one of the biggest issues they raise with me is the skills gap. They tell me that maintaining a skilled workforce is absolutely crucial to their future and the future of the whole economy.

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

The report reveals that there are 350,000 people who work in London’s construction sector, just over half of which are from the UK, while 27% are from the EU.

It has been reported by industry experts that an extra 13,000 new workers are required each year until 2021 in order to tackle the skills gap and meet the additional demands on the construction industry.

Mark Farmer, CEO of Cast Real Estate & Construction Consultancy, said: “It’s very clear that the construction industry is far more reliant on migrant labour than anywhere else in the U.K. To safeguard against this, London will require at least short to medium term continued access to EU migrant labour and early protections given to its existing migrant workforce.

“As part of a longer term plan, the construction sector, in partnership with developers and supported by the GLA, needs to come up with a clear strategy for attracting and training more home grown talent and also developing more modern, higher productivity construction techniques which are less labour intensive, helping to future proof the industry.”

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