Belfast Telegraph

Loss of single market access could put 200,000 construction jobs under threat

Almost 200,000 construction jobs are at risk if access to the single market is lost because of Brexit, a new report warns.

Some of the country's biggest infrastructure projects will be threatened by such a huge loss of workers, said the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

Around 8% of construction workers in this country are EU nationals, showing their importance to the industry.

Construction is already in the grip of a skills crisis, warned RICS.

The group's head of UK policy, Jeremy Blackburn, said: "These figures reveal that the UK construction industry is currently dependent on thousands of EU workers.

"It is in all our interests that we make a success of Brexit, but a loss of access to the single market has the potential to slowly bring the UK's £500 billion infrastructure pipeline to a standstill.

"That means that unless access to the single market is secured or alternative plans are put in place, we won't be able to create the infrastructure needed to enable our cities to compete on a global stage."

Unite's acting general secretary, Gail Cartmail, said: "This survey demonstrates once again that the Government's failure to guarantee the rights of existing EU citizens is playing fast and loose with the well-being of the UK economy. The ongoing uncertainty over the rights of EU citizens to remain in the UK post-Brexit is already resulting in workers voting with their feet and leaving the UK.

"This will exacerbate the deepening construction skills crisis, resulting in projects being delayed or cancelled, which will severely damage the health of the industry."

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