One in four construction workers in London is from the EU

Author: ross sturley cimcig

New figures show almost 100,000 of the capital’s construction workforce are from the European Union, meaning a mass exodus would slow construction in the capital to a crawl, drag labour in to the city from around the country, and push up wage costs significantly.

This picture of slower, more expensive construction, with a massive skills gap, is painted by the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, who warned that a loss of skilled EU workers could have a seriously detrimental effect on home building and other construction projects.

The Mayor released new figures in a report which he said "laid bare the crippling effect that Brexit could have on homebuilding in the capital". The report reveals that more than a quarter of London’s construction workforce is from the European Union – and their future in the UK will be uncertain if the government goes ahead with a 'Hard Brexit'.

The report says that 95,000 construction workers in London come from the EU, a significant proportion of the 350,000 total who work in London’s construction sector. Only just over half are from the UK.

Other reports suggest that London needs up to an extra 13,000 new workers each year until 2021 in order to plug the skills gap and meet the additional demands on the construction industry, highlighting just how important it is for London to be able to continue to attract the talent it needs post-Brexit.

Mark Farmer, CEO of Cast Real Estate & Construction Consultancy, commented: “It’s very clear that the construction industry is far more reliant on migrant labour than anywhere else in the U.K. To safeguard against this, London will require at least short to medium term continued access to EU migrant labour and early protections given to its existing migrant workforce.

“As part of a longer term plan, the construction sector, in partnership with developers and supported by the GLA, needs to come up with a clear strategy for attracting and training more home grown talent and also developing more modern, higher productivity construction techniques which are less labour intensive, helping to future proof the industry.”