Post-Brexit trade deal provides some hope for builders, says FMB

The Federation of Master Builders has said that the government’s announcement of a UK-EU trade deal on 24th December has brought reassurance to the construction industry.

Brian Berry, chief executive at the FMB, stated that Britain’s builders would welcome the certainty that this deal appears to offer after "the toughest of years".

The agreement establishes zero tariffs or quotas on trade between the UK and the EU, where goods meet the relevant rules of origin.

It includes provisions which reaffirm, incorporate and build upon WTO commitments and principles, facilitate trade, and address non-tariff barriers (such as import and export licensing restrictions).

The Agreement ensures continued market access rights for UK and EU road haulage operators.

Operators will continue to be able to move goods to, from and through each other’s territories with no permit requirements, and make additional movements within each other’s territories, with limits on the number of permitted movements.

However, the trade body has emphasised that small builders were already suffering the impacts of the delay.

“Unfortunately, the deal will have come too late for many already feeling the effects of prolonged indecision,” Brian added.

According to FMB’s latest State of Trade survey for Q3 2020, nine in 10 builders (87%) faced risings costs due to supply chain disruptions and higher product demand, up from eight in 10 (78%) in the summer.

The data also revealed that FMB members had faced rolling shortages of key building materials, such as timber, plaster, and roof tiles.

“We will wait to digest the detail, but this trade deal must deliver for builders by removing the barriers in their path to building back better and greener, be those access to products or skilled labour."

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