Scotland’s building industry worried about Brexit

by Jonathan Rimmer

SCOTTISH construction companies are four times more likely to view Brexit as negative rather than positive for the sector, according to a new survey.

The Scottish Building Federation’s quarterly monitor found 33% of construction firms believe the UK leaving the European Union will have a negative impact on the industry.

The monitor, which compiled responses from hundreds of building companies around the country, found only nine percent view Brexit positively.

However, results also showed only 14% of companies expect to reduce their number of employees over the next 12 months, with 84% expecting their workforce to increase or remain stable.

Vaughan Hart, managing director of the Scottish Building Federation, said: “Looking at this latest set of results, there is a real sense that the industry remains stuck in a state of limbo just now.

“The recent economic signs have been positive with strong output and rising employment within the Scottish construction sector.

“At the same time, ongoing uncertainty on the political and constitutional fronts is making industry employers feel quite nervous about the future outlook.”

The poll discovered 82% of respondents believe leaving the EU is ‘somewhat likely’ or ‘very likely’ to happen.

Of the construction firms polled, 42% stated they were unsure about the impact Brexit would have on the industry.

The news comes as another survey indicates Brexit is having more of an impact on planning and investment in construction more than any other industry.

The research, sponsored by digital platform The Brexit Tracker, uncovered 58% of construction firms feel the uncertainty of Brexit is affecting their ability to develop new markets.

Meanwhile, the study’s other findings suggest the construction industry is more sceptical than others in the UK.

The results indicated 37% of British companies feel Brexit will have a positive impact on British business, while 30% think the impact will be negative.

The survey calculated that Brexit planning has cost UK businesses £667.2 million so far in executive man hours and this figure is set to rise to £813 million after Article 50 is triggered.

Ben Martin, founder of The Brexit Tracker said: “Our research suggests that 40% of firms have already started planning for Brexit and 70% of CEOs have been tasked with that planning.

“Our research highlighted that although 76% of respondents understand the general implications of Brexit, that falls to 67% when looking at how Brexit impacts their own business. Clearly there is a knowledge gap.”

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