Scape Group on latest ONS figures: Brexit uncertainty has negative impact

Mark Robinson, Scape Group Chief Executive, comments on today’s ONS Construction Output data:

“Despite a positive end to 2015, with strong growth of 3.4% in construction output across the year, there has been both an annual and a monthly dip in output at the start of 2016. The possibility of a Brexit is generating uncertainty, which has a negative impact on all markets. House prices in January this year also saw more moderate annual growth according to the Office for National Statistics, so construction does not stand alone in the broader economic context.

“Many companies in the construction sector employ a high proportion of skilled workers from Europe, and the prospect of an exacerbated skills crisis if we do leave the EU, is part of the reason behind the slow down reported today. This only increases the imperative to address the shortage of skilled construction workers in the UK and the construction industry must be vocal about the broad range of careers on offer and promote strong role models.

“Today also saw a slowdown in infrastructure, which we would expect to be reversed given the government’s strong commitment to expanding and better connecting the UK’s transportation network. It will be interesting to see what is revealed in next week’s Budget, in terms of further cuts in government spending. It’s all very well having a strong infrastructure pipeline, but local government need to have the budgets to ensure a good level of maintenance in the future.”