Major building projects and 20,000 construction jobs at risk if UK loses access to single market, report warns

Nearly 200,000 construction jobs could be lost if Brexit stops Britain’s access to the single market, a report warns on Wednesday.

The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) warns that some of country’s biggest projects could be threatened by such a huge loss of workers.

Around 8% of construction workers in this country are EU nationals and the RICS warns that the industry is already in the grip of a skills crisis.

Jeremy Blackburn, RICS head of UK policy, 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.”

The building industry is already suffering from a skills shortage
(Photo: PA)

Meanwhile, another study has found that average real pay in the public sector is now falling because of a combination of rising inflation and pay curbs.

Findings by the Resolution Foundation says pay in the public sector, which employs one in six workers, is expected to continue falling over the next three years.

On current pay trends, average pay in the public sector would be £1,700 lower in 2019-20 than its peak in 2009-10.

The Foundation notes, however, that the very lowest earners will be protected from falling earnings due to large and welcome planned increases in the National Living Wage.

Pay growth has been particularly weak in health and social work, and could fall a further 6% by 2019-20. This could make it hard to recruit new workers and provide sufficient care for an ageing population, despite the government’s welcome announcement of a £2bn funding boost in last week’s Budget.

Pay in public sector education was lower in 2016 than in 2003, the analysis shows, and is expected to fall a further 3%.

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