Brexit is on the agenda for our latest 15th anniversary time capsule, taking a fairly short jump into the past. This month marks one year since the British people voted for the country to exit the European Union. Immediately following the vote, Stroma Certification released a statement expressing our belief that the energy and construction industries would weather any oncoming storm or uncertainty.
As we enter June 2017, despite the ongoing uncertainty, it’s pleasing to see that the positive signs remain.
In spite of the concerns raised over Brexit, it is actually fairly positive in the industry. There are ups and downs in the different segments of construction. The social housing, non-domestic construction and the private commercial market in London have been down versus the continued high performance of private residential building. Regardless of any political uncertainty there is still a need for housing and all the major political parties have committed to building more after the election. The country needs more hospitals, schools and the infrastructure needs improving. All this will continue to generate work for the industry.
One of the key Brexit negotiating points is the issue of Freedom of Movement and there is considerable trepidation in the construction industry about the terms of our exit and what that could mean for the supply of labour into the marketplace. There is a very valid argument that the construction sector has been bolstered and improved by EU migrant workers coming into the UK. In a ‘hard’ Brexit scenario which restricts the movement of labour into the UK, it is feared that industry will be severely hamstrung without the skilled, enthusiastic European workers who have become the bulwark of UK construction. Each political party has a slightly different view on migration (not withstanding the EU’s negotiating position) and as such a sensitive issue it makes the forthcoming General Election result even more crucial for the construction industry.
The major variable (of many variables) in the current equation is the forthcoming General Election on 8 June. It may yield a new Government, or conversely a much stronger Conservative majority. The hope will be that the result of the poll should finally end any domestic political uncertainty over Britain’s stance at the Brussels negotiating table.
In the present moment it is impossible to predict the final outcome of the Brexit process. There is trepidation about the uncertainty but at the same time there appear to be reasons for confidence. To date Brexit has not had the negative impact which many Remain voters had feared. Investment in the UK has actually increased. Stroma’s own company performance has been highly positive in the first two quarters of 2017.
The UK should experience very little impact in terms of environmental legislative changes. We are one of the only current member countries who adhere to the EPBD and have driven the development of best practice and energy efficiency strategy. One of the key aims of Brexit is to reduce red tape and Stroma, our members, partners and clients are part of that very solution.
We await the results of the General Election with optimism and interest.
Stroma is delighted to be celebrating our 15th anniversary in 2017 and would like to thank our clients, members, partners and friends for your ongoing support.