Report on how government can help construction sector prepare for Brexit would be one of the first tasks for the housing delivery watchdog


John Healey and Tim Farron set out their pledges in letters to Building

A review of how government can help the construction sector to prepare for Brexit would be one of the first tasks of the housing delivery watchdog that Labour wants to set up if the party wins next week’s election

With the Conservatives’ poll lead over Labour narrowing when Building went to press earlier this week, the opposition shadow secretary of state for housing, John Healey, has outlined the party’s response to the Building a Better Brexit campaign in an exclusive open letter to the industry.

He writes that “one of the first tasks” of the Office for Housing Delivery, planned by Labour to monitor the government’s progress on housebuilding, would be to “commission a review of how government can help ensure the sector prepare for Brexit and plans to thrive beyond”.

Healey adds that an “essential element” of this review is how to deal with the potential post-Brexit skills crisis faced by the construction industry due to its reliance on imported EU labour.

A spokesman for Healey said that the new watchdog would be designed to “hold ministers’ feet to the fire”  in the same way that the Office of Budget Responsibility currently monitors government tax and spending.

In his response to Building’s campaign, Healey also pledges to extend the life of the Help to Buy equity loan scheme for new build housing, and set up a dedicated Department for Housing. He also criticizes the Conservatives for ranking construction as a “low priority” in the upcoming Brexit negotiations.

Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron also sent a letter in response to the Building a Better Brexit campaign, warning that what he describes as a “blunt, Conservative, hard Brexit, cutting all access to EU workers” would cause the construction industry to shrink by 9%.

The Conservatives did not supply a response to the campaign.