Mark Robinson, Scape Group Chief Executive, comments on today’s ONS Construction Output data:
“There was a small fall in construction output in November compared to the previous year, which follows a trend we saw throughout the second half of 2015.
“Nevertheless, we should take a more positive long-term view of the industry’s prospects. The government’s announcement this week of plans for the regeneration of housing estates across the country is welcome, and contractors are confident, as this month’s CIPS/Markit PMI data for December showed.
“Although we’ve started 2016 with some ripples of uncertainty in the global economy, whether that’s concern about the Chinese stock market or international oil prices, UK construction is on a strong footing. High demand for housing and infrastructure projects will help to sustain the construction industry throughout the year, whatever happens abroad.
“One international issue that does matter in the year ahead, however, is the possibility of ‘Brexit’. The government’s renegotiation and the possibility of Britain leaving the EU could both have huge implications for the construction industry, which is highly dependent on skilled construction workers from the continent. As a country we struggle to train enough young people to meet our future construction needs, and by making it difficult for European workers to come here, we risk exacerbating the skills crisis further.”