Top tips for tradesmen

Will Brexit affect building material prices?

With the seemingly never-ending Brexit saga now coming to an end…

Many have been left unsure about how businesses will be affected by Britain leaving the European Union. This is something that has been a particular concern for those in the trades. Will material prices go up? How will taxes be affected? Will it be easier to get things done without EU red tape?

Firstly, we are still in the early stages of this post-Brexit period so it’s very difficult to get a firm indication of how things will be in the long-term. When we add on the effect of Covid-19 the situation becomes even more difficult, but here’s what we understand to be true. 

What changes can we expect?

Right now, it’s hard to say anything for certain. Considering that between 50% and 65% of building materials come from the EU, it’s evident that there are going to be some changes, but the fact that a trade deal was signed seems to have ironed some of it out – for now at least. 

However, the effect that Brexit might have on the labour market could be the biggest problem. There is already a workforce shortage as the trades have traditionally recruited a substantial number of foreign workers, this issue will only continue to worsen if the number of foreign nationals residing in Britain is cut due to Brexit. 

Nonetheless, one positive that might come out of the situation is the reduction of that pesky red tape that sometimes has a habit of holding things up. But let’s be really honest here – this is not going to become the Wild West where you can do whatever you want. EU red tape will be replaced by British red tap – but we can just hope it might be easier to navigate.  

 Have material prices gone up after Brexit?

There have certainly already been cases where prices have increased since Brexit formally came into effect, but prices have been rising for several years now, so you can’t simply put that down to Brexit. 

A survey conducted by the Federation of Master Builders in Q3 2020 found that 87% of those surveyed said they had experienced an increase in material prices in September and October, but only 30% reported any kind of price hike in their own pricing. 

Should I be worried? 

Undisputedly, it’s a difficult time to be in the trades, with many as confused as a fart in a fan factory. Everything seems to be swirling around, and nobody seems to have a firm idea of how things are going to play out. 

However, we’re not at the stage where you should be excessively worried about the current situation or the future. Yes, we are going to see some changes, but the construction industry is so important to Britain that the government can’t allow it to be severely affected for too long.

Instead, it looks like we’re going to have a period of uncertainty that will most likely settle down over the coming years.  

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