UK construction growth slows, but Brexit fears recede – Business live

All the day’s economic financial news, including a new healthcheck on Britain’s builders


Brexit fears may have receded for now, but many builders are worrying how they’ll find enough brickies, plasters and electricians once the UK leaves the EU.

Mike Chappell, global corporates managing director for construction at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, explains:

“Civil engineering continues to be the star performer in the sector thanks to a number of mega-projects in the works across the UK, some of which were given the green light before the EU referendum.

“With the triggering of Article 50 last week, the most significant issue on the industry’s radar remains labour. Almost 10% of UK construction workers are from the EU and in London that rises to a quarter. Contractors are therefore keen to understand what can be done to maintain access to this labour, otherwise they potentially face both increased costs and project delays.

Paul Sirani, Chief Market Analyst at Xtrade, says the UK construction figures are “underwhelming”.

“While the purchasing managers’ index still indicates growth, it’s very modest. UK construction has been largely in retreat since December’s figure of 54.2 and there are dark clouds forming over the sector.

“The housing market appears somewhat weary and the UK economy overall is likely to slow as it navigates its way through Brexit. All eyes will now be on tomorrow’s PMI services data.”

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