The ‘No Deal’ Brexit Paper: The implications for the UK construction sector

The chance of the UK leaving the EU without a withdrawal agreement in place has increased in recent months, particularly given the extent of opposition to the prime minister’s negotiating position.

The potential impacts of a ‘no deal’ Brexit are overwhelmingly negative for the construction industry, very unpredictable and could be severe if necessary mitigating action is not taken. Far from freeing UK businesses from red tape, a ‘no deal’ Brexit threatens to do exactly the opposite, loading firms with potential barriers to trade and new bureaucracy. A ‘no deal’ Brexit is likely to push up construction costs and may delay project completion or make construction commencement unviable in some instances.

This paper analyses the short term and practical impacts on the construction industry of the UK leaving the EU in March 2019 without a formal withdrawal agreement in place. Here, we consider the level of trade and interconnectedness between the UK and the EU construction markets and the severity of the knock-on effects that leaving the EU without a deal will have. The paper explores labour mobility, products and materials and wider economic impacts.

At a time of great uncertainty, Gleeds has a duty to raise awareness of the specific challenges we will face as an industry and the opportunity to share our recommendations for the benefit of the wider economy. Through this study, we are appealing for a changing landscape which works for, rather than against, the construction sector and supports the many inspired innovations that are under development and set to propel the industry forward.






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Richard Steer Chairman Gleeds

Richard Steer