British construction would be harmed by Brexit

Crest Nicholson has warned Brexit would damage the construction sector by disrupting the import of building materials and by stopping foreign construction workers coming into the UK to work. Chief executive Stephen Stone said it would be more difficult and more expensive to obtain products from the EU if the UK voted out. Additionally, a hold on foreign workers would slow down construction and further exacerbate the housing crisis. He said: “As a business, we’d be disappointed if Brexit were to happen. This is a period where we are growing as an industry, and it would be a shame to put that at risk.” Stone also warned Brexit would damage the apprenticeship programme run by his firm, as “we would stop recruitment”. “We have strong relationships with our European suppliers,” Stone added. “Belgium and Spain would still be keen to trade, but clearly Brexit is going to take a few years to negotiate.” He continued: “As a prudent business we would probably pause. It means restricting investment in land and in people. We would review it in three or six months’ time.” Skills shortages in the construction industry remain a problem, but Crest said this could become worse in the event of a vote to leave. The sector relies on foreign workers to plug skills gaps. The construction sector has remained somewhat divisive on the issue of Brexit, with a number of surveys conveying mixed feeling toward the referendum vote. The referendum vote will take place on 23 June.
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