19 Oct Brexit – Hurting UK Construction
Gleeds chairman, Richard Steer, has taken a stab at the government’s shambolic management of Brexit. Steer’s comments could not have come at a more inconvenient time, as Theresa May tried to thrash out a deal with other European leaders. Speaking at the annual parliamentary reception for the British Chamber of Commerce, Steer drove his point home quite clearly.
UK Brand Image Suffering
Directed at the business secretary, Greg Clarke, and his cabinet colleagues, Steer made it clear that his firm has lost business. Additionally, he made it clear that loss of business has been as a result of the tainted image of UK business as a consequence of the flailing Brexit negotiations.
Not mincing his words, he is quoted as saying, “The management, or lack thereof, of the exit process has damaged brand UK all over the world. Potential investors have mothballed or cancelled projects as a result. This has cost us as a business and others. It is not getting worse, not better”.
Steer added, “As one who travels widely on behalf of my business, it is fair to say that for those outside of our country looking in at the UK, in image management terms alone, Brexit has not been our finest hour.
Construction Must be a Priority Post-Brexit
Crucially, he made the point of reminding Clarke that it is vital that construction is looked after, after Brexit, noting that the UK industry is larger than the UK car and aerospace industries put together.
It came as no surprise that he mentioned that, “If we hurt, the whole UK suffers”. A lesson learnt in the 2008 industry collapse worldwide.
Mark Reynolds, Mace chief, stated clearly earlier this month that the government has ignored industry worries over access to labour once the UK leaves the EU next March.
Industry chiefs are waving red flags. This over what is currently the biggest political hot potato. It won’t be long before others start standing up to the plate challenging the methods behind the politics.