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Construction output rises despite Brexit uncertainty, says FMB

The government must not be complacent about the damage a ‘no deal’ Brexit would cause, amid positive signs of growth in the UK construction industry, says the Federation of Master Builders.

The construction output figures for November 2018 were published earlier this month by the Office for National Statistics.

They showed that the UK construction sector grew by 2.1% during September to November 2018 compared with the previous three months.

Sarah McMonagle, Director of External Affairs at the FMB, noted that this was despite “unparalleled levels of political uncertainty” around the “very real” prospect of a ‘no deal’ Brexit in March.

She urged the government not to allow these results to create a false sense of security, warning that “a growing and prosperous construction sector will be a distant memory if the government allows the UK to crash out of the EU without a deal in place”.

McMonagle also expressed concerns with the government’s proposed post-Brexit immigration system. In the Immigration White Paper, published at the end of last year, the government revealed it will make few allowances for low-skilled workers to enter the UK post-Brexit.

She said: “Most tradespeople will be defined as low skilled and therefore will not be permitted to enter the UK, regardless of whether they are from the EU or further afield.

“It is crucial that the government introduces a post-Brexit immigration system that continues to allow us to draw on essential migrant workers or else their house building and infrastructure targets will be totally unachievable.”

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