Brexit would be bad for construction industry says Golden House Developments leader
Monika Slowikowska, founder of Golden Houses Developments, believes a leave vote in the EU referendum would be bad for the construction industry.
If a leave vote is found, the negative effects would be felt for everyone involved in the sector, from housebuilders and developers to homebuyers.
“The UK would be worse off in terms of its ability to recruit good people and attract foreign investment and funding for regeneration schemes,” Monika said.
“Procuring building materials in the quantity we need and at the prices we currently pay could also be a problem if Brexit leads to import tariffs and quotas.
“In the UK, one construction worker in ten was born outside the UK, yet the sector is still held back by a skills shortage. A leave vote would exacerbate the problem. These workers would find it harder to come to the UK compared to say, Spain, Germany or France. This in turn would increase labour costs, which have already gone up by an average of eight per cent in the last six months alone.”
Monika is also worried about the effect Brexit would have on EU funded projects. “The European Structural Investment Fund (EUSIF), European Regional Development Funding (ERDF) and Joint European Support for Sustainable Investment in City Areas (Jessica) have, between them, contributed billions towards regeneration projects across the UK. As one of the EU’s biggest net beneficiaries of these schemes, we stand to lose a great deal if we leave the EU.
“We also risk becoming an unattractive proposition for foreign investors from the other 27 EU countries. This is because increased travel costs and import and export tariffs could complicate the existing simple arrangements.
“The same applies to buying building materials from our European partners. Currently,
59 per cent of the building materials we import come from EU countries, who also buy 62 per cent of our exports in the same category. Today, these transactions are simple to process. If we leave the EU, we could pay higher prices and have to contend with more red tape. The inevitable result of this will be higher house prices across the UK.”
Read the June 2016 issue of Construction Global magazine
France to invest €1.8bn in Egypt’s infrastructure
France will invest a total of €1.8bn into Egypt’s infrastructure focusing specifically on upgrading the Cairo Metro, building a railway to Sudan, and developing water and energy schemes. Officials have called the investment a “major boost to bilateral cooperation”.
The Cairo Metro
Included in the financing is a concessional government loan of around €800mn to upgrade Line 1 of the Cairo Metro, introduced in the 1980s. The financing will pay for 55 trainsets for the line and is provided by the French engineering company, Alstom.
Line 6 is also due to be upgraded using further state-guaranteed loans worth up to €2bn. Bruno Le Maire said that this would be negotiated over the next six months. France and Egypt have worked in close cooperation ever since Abdel Fattah al-Sisi became president in 2014, despite differences over human rights and strong criticism of Egypt by rights activists and some foreign states.
Nine more projects over the next half a decade
A further €1bn from France’s development agency, Agence Française de Développement (AFD), aims to cover a range of other projects over the next half a decade.
These projects include a railway line between Aswan, southern Egypt, and Wadi Halfa in Sudan, as well as several projects in the renewable energy and water purification industries. Bruno Le Maire, France’s Finance Minister, said Egypt was a “strategic partner and commercial dealings with it would be developed. France will substantially increase its direct exposure to Egypt, becoming the first counter-party for government to government loans,” he said.
According to Le Maire, the AFD will also €150mn to support the construction of a universal health insurance programme. French contractors such as Vinci and Bouygues have a long history of working on the Egyptian capital’s underground system.
Talking about the relationship between France And Egypt, Le Maire concluded: “France will substantially increase its direct exposure to Egypt, becoming the first counter-party for government to government loans”.