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BSRIA publishes EU survey resultsMarch 2016


Julia Evans OBE, Chief Executive, BSRIA
BSRIA has published the results of its recent EU referendum member survey which has found that over half of respondents think there’ll be a negative impact if the UK leaves the EU – specifically – 53 per cent that ‘EU exit will have a negative impact on your business’ and 58 per cent that ‘exit from the EU will have a negative impact on the whole construction sector’.

However, a “good” proportion don’t think a ‘Brexit’ would have an impact on industry or their businesses.

When asked ‘what kind of relationship with the EU would best meet the needs of your business?’ – 39 per cent responded that ‘joining the European Free Trade Area and European Economic Area – allows for participation in the EU’s single market’. This is akin to the “Norway” approach (which retains all the EU trade membership advantages, but not all the influence). In terms of alternative options – a “surprising” 22 per cent were in favour of a commonwealth market.

The only overwhelmingly “yes” answer was to the question on whether the EU should focus on securing global free trade for its member states, with 78 per cent of respondents.

When asked ‘if you would like the Government to negotiate opt-outs from further integration’ regarding:

  • Financial issues –    33 per cent.
  • Deregulation –    40 per cent.
  • Environmental issues –    7 per cent.
  • Employment issues –    21 per cent.

At 51 per cent, members felt that controls on EU migration would not restrict their recruitment plans for skilled workers.

Member quotes:

“If the UK wants any changes to current practices within Europe, UK will be better placed to affect these changes by belonging to the Club and not from Outside. This argument goes for anyone wanting to contribute to the betterment of any organization; you are better off belonging and contributing from inside rather than from outside.”

“The biggest single issue is uncertainty. If a ‘Brexit’ is confirmed then we believe this will create three to four years of economic uncertainty. We may end up with a slightly better economic situation than if we stayed in Europe – however, this is in no way certain and we could very easily be in a more difficult situation. What is certain is that uncertainty will be detrimental to our economy. To repeat a phrase ‘it is the unknown unknowns’ we need to worry about.”

“Key issues of concern are lack of funding for R&D activities, and lack of recognition that the industry is a global one, and opportunities for collaboration will be reduced, and trust decreased by a UK exit.”

Julia Evans, Chief Executive, BSRIA, said: “We would like to thank BSRIA members, thus representing the construction industry, for taking the time to complete this important survey. Indeed, this gives the industry some kind of indicator of what might happen on 23rd June. The survey will enable BSRIA to understand its members’ views on reform of the EU and the UK’s future relationship with the EU. Above all – two issues are paramount. The ability for industry to trade easily and quickly across all EU member states and the ability to find skilled staff. In essence, on both counts, to be able to plan for the future.”

Background:

  • 50 BSRIA members completed the survey – which ran for a fortnight from Monday 7th March 2016.
  • 78 per cent of respondents’ headquarters are located in the UK with 8 per cent based in USA and Canada.
  • The UK Government has committed to holding an in-out referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU on 23rd June.
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