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Government housing ambitions knocked down by Brexit

February 8, 2017 2:00 PM
Originally published by UK Liberal Democrats

The Liberal Democrats have produced figures to show that government plans to boost house-building cannot be delivered because of a Brexit-driven labour crisis.

Andrew Stunell, Liberal Democrat construction spokesperson, has shown that the construction industry would need a 35% increase in workers to deliver the houses the government claims it will build - but if ministers do follow through on their stated intention of delivering hard Brexit and cutting labour access to the EU27, the construction industry's labour force would shrink by 9%.

The figures, provided by the construction industry, were presented by the Brexit Infrastructure Group to the Exiting the European Union Committee to the UK's negotiating objectives for withdrawal from EU inquiry last November.

Andrew Stunell said: "As figures showing the increase in demand for labour were presented to the inquiry, Sajid Javid must be aware of the crisis. How can he possibly meet his target of 225,000 to 275,000 new homes a year if the Conservative Brexit government plans to stop the workers coming in to build them? Especially when they are doing so little to train British workers to take up more of the work?

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"We face the absurd situation of a government determined to yank us out of the world's largest single market to cut immigration, yet it will then almost certainly be forced to relax immigration rules to provide the labour the UK economy needs.

"Remember that the projected 35% increase in construction needs was calculated before publication of the government's Industrial Strategy, which called for many large infrastructure projects which will further raise demands for labour in the construction sector.

"This is the economics of the Brexit mad-house. The losers, sadly, will be all the young people who are looking to the government for help in getting a home."