The growing skills crisis in the construction industry threatens the Prime Minister’s ambition to increase home ownership and will undermine wider economic growth, the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) warns.
The PM stated last week that he wanted his legacy to be defined by increasing home ownership, but according to FMB this will not be possible without an ample supply of skilled construction workers.
FMB research has shown that 60% of small construction firms struggle to hire bricklayers, a increase of 49% from three months ago.
Looking to other trades, 54% of firms said they were struggling to hire carpenters and joiners – up from 47% in the previous quarter.
FMB chief executive Brian Berry said: “It’s not just house building and home ownership that are being hampered by the skills shortage. The future economic growth of our country relies on major infrastructure projects, such as HS2 and Hinkley Point, being built.
“We urgently need to boost our workforce by convincing people – in their thousands – to return to our industry or join us for the first time. Key to this is the need to address the severe shortfall of apprenticeships.”
He added that the number of construction apprenticeships is insufficient and the ongoing uncertainty surrounding the proposed Apprenticeship Levy is exacerbating the problem.