The construction sector could be left vulnerable to the negative effects of political uncertainty following the indecisive result of the General Election and a hung parliament.
The Conservatives are still the largest party in parliament, on target to win 318 seats, while Labour looks to have had 261 MPs elected. Theresa May’s decision to call a snap election to consolidate the Conservative party’s majority as the country enters Brexit talks has backfired.
Brian Berry, chief executive of the FMB, said: “The surprise General Election result has left key business sectors nervous with no one political party securing enough seats to form a majority government. The construction sector is particularly vulnerable to dips in consumer confidence brought about by political uncertainty and therefore it’s crucial that this uncertainty is minimised.
“In the longer term, there could be a potential silver lining for the business community as the prospect of a hard Brexit now seems less likely. Theresa May stood on a hard Brexit platform and she has clearly not been given a mandate to approach the negotiations in this way. Brexit is inevitable but the election result will surely have a significant impact on the shape of the Brexit deal we end up with. This could be a positive for business leaders who are concerned about a broad range of issues – for the construction sector, our greatest concern is that the flow of migrant workers might be reduced too quickly and before we are able to put in place a framework for training sufficient UK workers to replace them.”
Martin Vella, managing director of Pexhurst, the fit-out and refurbishment specialist contractor, said: “With the outcome of the general election a hung parliament and the former housing and planning minister having lost his parliamentary seat, we can expect uncertainty to continue over the coming weeks.
“It is no secret that the construction industry requires a highly skilled workforce to keep up with the advances in construction methods. Brexit has caused uncertainty over the industry’s future ability to employ skilled workers from overseas and so now more than ever we must develop the skills we need for the future.
“We need quality technical courses for young people so that they become quality trainees and ready for the world of work. We hope that any new Government will show support for the need to invest in skills.”