CONFIDENCE among Scotland’s builders has slumped to a three-year low in the wake of the UK’s decision to leave the European union, according to new research.
There was a drop of 22 points to MINUS 19 in the latest Scottish Construction Monitor, a quarterly survey of the membership of the Scottish Building Federation.
This is the first time since the second quarter of 2013 that the survey has recorded a negative overall confidence rating from industry employers.
Survey responses were collected during June and respondents were given the opportunity to update their confidence rating following the outcome of the EU referendum vote last week.
Vaughan Hart, Scottish Building Federation managing director, said, “The results of our latest quarterly survey reflect much of the informal feedback I have received from individual members. Construction employers are unsettled by the economic volatility we have witnessed following the vote to leave the European Union last week.
“General uncertainty about the economic outlook has prompted concern that investment decisions could be postponed indefinitely. The potential impact on interest rates also risks provoking a sustained slowdown of activity across different sectors of the property market. If the current economic volatility is sustained over a longer period of time, the UK Treasury may be forced to take evasive action come the time of the autumn statement with a knock-on impact on the Scottish Government’s budget and on local government funding.
“There is also a more general concern that the process of negotiating the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union could result in paralysis within Government that means important priorities such as the delivery of more housing, the development of skills, training and apprenticeships and critical improvements to the country’s infrastructure risk being sidelined.
“On behalf of the SBF’s membership and the wider construction sector, I would seek reassurance from ministers that it will maintain a focus on policies that support the construction industry at this challenging time – and critically that help to deliver sustainable employment within the industry. I would also urge politicians to keep the construction sector and the wider business community regularly briefed of further developments as the process of implementing last week’s referendum result takes shape.”