BSRIA has launched its Brexit White Paper after a major engagement exercise with its members and the industry was undertaken to identify the key issues in the specific context of the built environment industry.
- The opportunities arising from Brexit.
- The risks arising from Brexit.
- The issues that government should prioritise in its forthcoming negotiations with the remaining EU states to protect and enhance the industry.
The three major opportunities arising from Brexit are:
- The possibility of greater international trade.
- The possibility of a more streamlined regulatory environment.
- An increased motivation to boost the UK skills base.
The four threats arising from Brexit identified by the report are:
- Potential lack of access to skilled labour.
- Potential lack of access to the single market, with potential consequences for tariff and non-tariff barriers.
- Future divergence from, and lack of influence over, European standards and regulations.
- Uncertainty over future research funding in the UK.
The priority issues were identified as:
Access to the remaining EU – that government seeks to ensure as full as possible access to the EU single market on the best possible terms.
This is for two main reasons.
First, there was a clear and strong view from BSRIA members that such access would be required for the general wellbeing of the UK economy on which the specific sectors associated with BSRIA depend.
And second, that with over £2.8bn of goods being imported into the UK in this industry, any impediment to trade, either tariff or non-tariff, will have a considerable impact.
International Trade – that government does everything possible to quickly secure new trade deals with countries outside the EU as well as with the EU with a particular focus on the services our industry provides.
Access to skilled labour from the remaining EU – that government ensures that EU nationals currently working in the industry are given immediate formal assurances that they and their families will be free to continue to live and work in the UK. Further, that government ensures a system is put in place that enables UK companies in this sector to continue to access the highly skilled labour they need in the future from the remaining EU and the worldwide market.
Research funding – that government gives an assurance that any short fall in research funds resulting from the UK no longer qualifying for EU research funds post Brexit will be made up from UK sources.
It is crucial that government understands that the UK Built Environment industry both creates and is dependent on technology and innovation which requires a healthy and growing level of R&D funding. In addition, government must understand that increased R&D funding will help the UK Built Environment industry to compete more successfully both in the UK and in existing and new overseas markets.
Standards and regulation – that government works to ensure as much stability and comparability on regulation and standards as possible post Brexit. BSRIA stands by to assist the UK government in any review of how standards and regulations affect this vital industry. BSRIA member organisations are strongly of the view that government should provide clarity by stating a minimum period of time during which there will be no variation of existing standards and regulations.
Government must work to ensure as much stability and comparability on regulation and standards as possible post Brexit is achieved.
Skills funding – that government takes the opportunity provided by Brexit to further invest in and promote the education and skills that the industry needs, by continuing to support apprenticeships, and increasing access to higher, and most particularly further and vocational education.
Julia Evans, BSRIA Chief Executive, said:
“This paper encapsulates the outcomes of a useful engagement exercise. There are several issues that are of severe concern to our industry. Without satisfactory resolution, these could have a large negative impact on the industry and the 562,000 people employed within it.
Likewise, the EU negotiation and the UK’s new role in the world represent a real opportunity to strengthen and grow this vital industry with opportunities for greater international trade, better focussed regulation and developing a stronger indigenous UK skills base.
The thoughts of the members surveyed for this report are clear. There is grave concern about the future post departure from the EU. They are clearly looking for government to support them in the uncertain days ahead by providing clarity and direction.
The transitional period will undoubtedly be challenging and from time to time difficult, however, there is a sense of purpose around the subjects which affect this sector of the economy and they deserve and indeed demand attention.”
BSRIA has also published a Brexit Topic Guide as part of its series of At a Glance guides for a quick overview and understanding of all things Brexit.