Civil engineering contractors have again warned that shortages of skilled labour could derail the delivery of vital infrastructure, following Theresa May’s speech on her Government’s Brexit plans.
In a major speech on her approach to leaving the EU, the prime minister said the UK ‘cannot’ remain a member of the single market and that ‘Brexit must mean control of the number of people who come to Britain from Europe’.
Theresa May became prime minister after the vote to leave the EU
Ms May said she would pursue a ‘bold and ambitious free trade agreement’ with the EU that ‘should give British companies the maximum freedom to trade with and operate within European markets – and let European businesses do the same in Britain’.
Marie-Claude Hemming, head of external affairs for the Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA), said: ‘We welcome the Government’s stated intention of providing certainty as Britain leaves the European Union. Government must now move swiftly to consult with industry to ensure economic stability and continuity of workloads.
‘Our top priority must be to ensure that Brexit does not derail the delivery of the vital infrastructure that businesses and communities rely upon.
'The Government has laudably committed to an ambitious infrastructure programme to drive growth in the UK economy. However, the ability of our members to deliver on these plans will be substantially impacted by any limitations on the availability of EU migrant workers.
'For industry to be able to deliver on the Government’s plans, the position of labour availability must be closely monitored, and processes put in place to respond quickly if skills gaps open up.'