FMB expresses skilled worker shortage

The UK’s Federation of Master Builders (FMB) believes a lack of access to skilled workers post Brexit will become a bigger barrier to building houses than a lack of finance.

In an annual survey conducted by the FMB, 44 per cent of small and medium house building firms that a shortage of skilled workers is a major barrier to their ability to build more new homes. This is up from 42 per cent last year.

According to the FMB, the construction sector is heavily reliant on European Union workers, with just under one in 10 workers in the sector born in the EU,

“Given that the UK will leave the EU in less than six months, house builders are understandably concerned that skills shortages could worsen and choke housing delivery,” said Brian Berry, FMB chief executive. “It is critical therefore that the Government doesn’t pull the rug out from under the sector by introducing an inflexible and unresponsive immigration system.”

Indeed, in a section of the survey where employers were asked to look ahead three years, more firms cited skills shortages as a likely barrier to growth than access to finance.

Currently, 46 per cent of small and medium house builders say access to finance is a major barrier to their ability to build more new homes. However, planning restrictions are considered the biggest barrier to home building, with 51 per cent of those surveyed citing the planning system as a major constraint on their ability to grow.

Article published 22nd October 2018