Sunday, 15 October 2017

Brexit: and the construction industry 'on the brink'

It's not only East Devon which is doing badly with its big planning projects:
Futures Forum: The District Council's reputation on planning is described as 'an absolute disaster area'

This is all in the context of things going badly in the construction industry nationwide:
Construction sector slumps as infrastructure pipeline runs dry - Telegraph
What does Brexit mean for construction? - Designing Buildings Wiki
Construction workers concerened over Brexit impact on government infrastructure projects | Property Reporter
Research suggests Brexit will ‘damage’ UK construction industry | Planning & Building Control Today

Including Exeter - and its big planning projects:
Developer pulls out of £100m Exeter Princesshay extension scheme - Devon Live
Exeter's 'double whammy' as leisure centre and bus station also put on hold - Devon Live
Tories slam Exeter Labour for mishandling "vanity project" as plan to close Paris Street is abandoned - Devon Live

The Labour MP for Exeter voices his take on things:

This is not “project fear”. It is project fact.

The collapse of the Crown Estates plans for Princesshay shows that Brexit it already having catastrophic effects

Ben Bradshaw

11 OCT 2017

Ben Bradshaw is the Labour MP for Exeter and has been since 1997

With the slow-down in the economy and the construction sector on the brink of recession, it was not huge surprise when the Crown Estates announced its withdrawal from the £100 million Paris Street redevelopment.

In September the construction industry reported its worst month since the EU Referendum, with the economic uncertainty caused by Brexit sapping demand for new office and retail space. Only continued house building prevented the industry falling into recession.

Duncan Brock of the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply, which helps compile the regular surveys said: “Reduced Government spending, economic uncertainty and Brexit-delayed decision-making among clients were largely to blame.”

That will be little comfort to decision-makers in Exeter, who now have to go back to the drawing board.

The good news is the fundamentals of Exeter’s economy are strong. We’ve ridden previous down-turns better than most. But we are not immune to what’s happening in the economy as a whole.

Before the EU Referendum, the UK was the best performing of the major economies. We’re now the worst. This is not “project fear”. It is project fact. It is becoming unsustainable for the hard Brexiteers to continue to pretend the course they have set the country on is not harming us. The Chancellor, Philip Hammond, at least has the honesty to admit there will be “trade-offs” in any Brexit deal and he’s urged his Conservative colleagues to be honest too. He faces an unenviable task in next month’s budget - deteriorating public finances and calls for long overdue investment in our public services – while his own hard Brexiteer MPs want him to spend billions of pounds planning for no deal on Brexit.

This can’t go on. Sooner or later the Government must decide whether it wants the kind of Brexit the Chancellor wants – as close to our current trading relationship with the EU as possible to minimise the economic damage – or the fantasy world of Boris Johnson and the hard Brexiteers.

There is already no chance that this month’s deadline of moving to the next stage of talks will be met. Mrs May says the ball’s in other 27 EU members’ court. But the 27 have always made clear they need clarity on citizens’ rights, the Irish border and the divorce bill first. Mrs May’s Government has not provided it.

There is a real and growing danger that the divisions in Mrs May’s Cabinet mean we are heading for no deal. That would be catastrophic for our already fragile economy.

My hope and expectation would be that Parliament would intervene to prevent such a disaster. That’s why the legal advice over the reversibility of Article 50 is so important.

When I and several Labour colleagues asked Mrs May about this in Parliament on Monday, she dodged the question. I took from that 1. She has received legal advice and 2. It confirms that the Article 50 Process could be stopped. That provides a scintilla of comfort, that, if it came to it, Parliament could save the country from hurtling over a cliff.

Ben Bradshaw - Devon Live Online

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