Sir John Armitt calls for industry to get behind united post-Brexit vision
CIOB president Paul Nash part of new working groups set up by Armitt to determine best negotiation positions on Brexit.
Sir John Armitt has issued a rallying call to the sector to to unite around a clear post-Brexit vision. The ICE president said it was imperative for the industry to speak with a single voice to ensure government was as well informed as possible to protect interests of construction and the economy in its negotiations to leave the EU.
The action comes as companies and organisations revisit strategies following a string of poor economic indicators caused by uncertainties following Brexit. This includes ONS figures showing construction technically in recession.
Sir John has set up and is chairing a cross-industry Brexit Leadership Group which hopes to put forward proposals to government on issues affecting infrastructure and construction – from standards to skills – before Christmas.
The group consists of Amanda Clack, RICS president; Richard Laudy, head of infrastructure at Pinsent Masons; Andrew Wolstenholme, co-chair of the Construction Leadership Council; Mike Putnam, CEO and president at Skanska; Geoff French, Aecom; Dr Scott Steedman, director of standards at BSI; James Stewart, global infrastructure chair at KPMG; Nick Roberts, CEO UK and Europe at Atkins.
"Many of us will be thinking deeply about the same issues. We should share that thinking so government cannot accuse us of being fragmented or inwardly focused. And by working together government can be in no doubt of our opinion, commitment and support."
Sir John Armitt
In addition, working groups have been spun off to study impacts on specific areas:
- Skills – chaired by Amanda Clack;
- Procurement – chaired by CIOB president Paul Nash;
- Investment and funding – chaired by James Stewart;
- Research and innovation – chaired by Mike Putnam;
- Standards and codes – chaired by Dr Scott Steedman.
A sixth group chaired by CIC chair Professor John Nolan will look broadly at the impact of Brexit from an SME perspective.
The aim of the groups, Sir John said, was to get a broad understanding of what impacts the sector in these areas and what needs to happen to ensure that we continue to trade as a sector and export to other markets.
“We need to understand the potential challenges, issues and problems – which will help us negotiate the best deal and ensure we don’t miss out. At the end of the day we want to make sure that we can contribute to the wider economy and not just construction,” Sir John, a member of the National Infrastructure Commission, told CM.
Sir John said that he saw the work being carried out in two stages. The first would be to work out what the key issues raised by leaving the EU by September and then coming up with the detail and information on clear negotiating positions that would help government by Christmas.
In his blog for the ICE, he said: “This is an unprecedented situation. Reaching the best solution for the nation will not be quick or easy but it is the most critical challenge facing us and we must get it right.
He added: “To do this effectively we – the infrastructure and construction industry – must speak with one clear, coherent voice. Many of us will be thinking deeply about the same issues. We should share that thinking so government cannot accuse us of being fragmented or inwardly focused. And by working together government can be in no doubt of our opinion, commitment and support.”
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