Historically the construction industry has been used as either a brake or an accelerator for the UK economy – subject to the whims of the party in power
This episode is unique. It derives from an unhealthy and unprofessional liaison between fund managers and developers. Opportunism was supreme. Pragmatism was a boo word. Unfettered economic universalism and free trading became the order of the day. Now the price is being paid by the British taxpayer.
The Get Britain Building campaign must be supported with one caveat – buy British wherever possible, regardless of price. Realistic planning and programming, positive leadership and firm but fair management, quality workmanship, and openness in all dealings must be the order of the day, if the campaign is to venture beyond rhetoric and become a reality With regard to proposals for control of overseas workers – their influx was primarily driven by British workers not wanting to apply themselves to the rigours and discipline of the building industry. A generation of students were raised on a diet of “you don't have to work to get money”.
A culture of weak management fostered a casual approach by allowing late starts, early finishes, sub-standard work and low levels of production. The Eastern Europeans stepped in providing a positive attitude, skilful services and a desire to earn by working.