During August, the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) conducted a survey of 108 Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs), asking how the Brexit vote had affected their businesses.
SME housebuilders are crucial to reaching the Government’s target of 1 million new homes built by 2020.
Over two-thirds of the them said it had had zero impact thus far. Only 22% reported delays, and only 10% reported that projects have been cancelled as a direct result.
Another 10% had schemes go ahead after the vote, and 3% actually had projects brought forward or boosted.
Chief Executive of the FMB, Brian Berry, said “the overwhelming majority of SME housebuilders are reporting that no decisions have yet been influenced by the referendum result”.
He continued, “The market appears to suggest that it’s ‘business as usual’”.
However, the ‘red tape’ of unnecessary regulation preventing housing developments has not diminished, and SMEs are hoping that the departure from the EU will trim it down. Over half of SMEs questioned said that was the most important factor in negotiating our exit, followed by ensuring that tradespeople from EU countries would still be able to work here in the UK (22%).
“Brexit aside, we should not paint an overly rosy picture of the situation facing SME housebuilders,” said Mr Berry. “Crucial sectors like the construction industry must be reassured that [the freedom of movement system] is flexible enough to respond to our needs.
“Otherwise, the construction skills shortage will be exacerbated and ultimately, it will become a major barrier to delivering the housing and infrastructure projects we so desperately need.”
Also read our Editor’s Comment on “Life after Brexit” here.