Brexit: UK's construction sector could lose 8% of EU workforce
The UK's construction industry is at risk of losing around 8% of its workforce, as Brexit threatens hundreds of thousands of EU jobs.
The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) estimates there are over 176,000 construction workers of EU-origin working in the UK.
Prime Minister Theresa May recently triggered Article 50, kickstarting the process of formal negotiations between Britain and the EU. It is as yet unclear as to who will be able to remain in the UK once it leaves the union.
RICS has cast doubt on whether the UK will be able to deliver multiple construction projects currently in the pipeline if the industry loses members of its workforce.
Likewise, the ongoing housing shortage demands the delivery of more affordable housing stock. The 'housing challenge' formed the focus of Chancellor Philip Hammond's Autumn Statement last year, in which he pledged £1.4bn for 40,000 new affordable homes, while a £2.3bn Housing Infrastructure Fund has been set aside to provide 100,000 new homes in high demand areas.
At a time when the UK's construction sector is already struggling with a lack of skilled workers, and the fact that around 30% of its workers are above the age of 50 and therefore likely to retire in the coming years, Britain needs assurances that EU workers can remain after Brexit, while investing further in training to ensure there are enough skilled workers to deliver planned projects.
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