Do you remember Brexit? It was all the rage last year. Then along came Covid-19...But Brexit never went away – the vital process of negotiating a trade deal with our former EU partners continues and it wouldn’t do to ignore it, especially now, when a deal seems more elusive than ever.
As we discuss on page seven of this issue, there remain three primary Brexit concerns facing the UK construction industry: technical standards, tariffs and migrant labour. Andy Mitchell – co-chair of the Construction Leadership Council – raised these issues last month with business secretary Alok Sharma, asking what he intends to do about them: In relation to standards, will the UK continue to adopt the EU’s or will it go ahead and develop its own? And if so, could it please make sure there will be mutual recognition of both sets of standards?
With regard to labour from the EU, Mitchell asked simply that certain trades currently omitted from the tier 2 work category (allowing skilled foreign workers access to the UK) be included – because we need them and there’s a shortage of domestic skills.
Then there’s tariffs. Nobody can plan ahead because nobody knows how much they’ll have to pay for imported goods and services. So Mitchell respectfully asked Sharma to ‘ramp up the business information campaigns’. That’s all; not a solution. But at least the panic will be an informed one