Last edited 19 May 2021

Main author

ECA Institute / association Website

Brexit still unclear for some in engineering services sector



[edit] Introduction

An engineering services sector survey conducted from 21 October 2020 to 5 November 2020 has revealed that just under one in three businesses (30%) have said they are still not clear about the forthcoming business implications of Brexit. Only a further one third (28%) said they are ‘fully clear’ about the implications of the Brexit transition.

The survey received 386 responses from companies across the multi-billion-pound industry, mainly regarding their performance in Q3 2020 (1 July to 30 September 2020) and expectations for Q4 2020. Overall, the engineering services sector is estimated to account for some 40% of UK construction and maintenance turnover.

[edit] Post-Brexit resources

A majority of respondents (75%) expect the cost of electrical and electronic products to either stay the same or rise after the transition deadline of 31 December 2020.

Although over 40% of respondents said product availability was a major factor on the horizon, only 17% said they expected product availability to be negatively impacted. Nearly half (49%) replied that they expect availability to broadly stay the same.

Skills were not thought to be a significant problem after Brexit for two thirds (66%) of businesses. Only 18% had adopted methods for dealing with skills issues linked to Brexit transition. However, this figure doubled for businesses with turnover above £20 million.

[edit] Analysis of survey findings

Rob Driscoll, ECA director of legal and business, said:

“It is perhaps no surprise that uncertainty remains a central theme as we inch closer to the Brexit deadline. However, these figures also reveal a degree of confidence in the sector – confidence in the availability of materials, and of skilled and competent individuals, once we are no longer part of the EU.”

Alan Wilson, SELECT managing director, said:

“These findings show that there is still ongoing concern about Brexit, with the sector also still weighing up the long-term impact of COVID-19. However, despite these twin uncertainties, it is encouraging to see the industry showing some confidence in other areas as we move into what will no doubt be an eventful 2021.”

Fiona Hodgson, SNIPEF chief executive, said:

“The latest survey shows our members are optimistic about Brexit and recovery from the pandemic. However, there is still much uncertainty surrounding both which may continue to have implications for the supply chain for some time. We will continue to monitor the position, and members need to consider the effect of higher prices and longer lead times when planning work.”

ECA, BESA, SNIPEF and SELECT represent over 5,000 businesses across the entire UK, covering England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Member businesses have a combined annual turnover of £12 billion, spanning building, infrastructure and maintenance activity.

The four trade bodies cover a broad range of engineering, design, installation and facilities management activity, including electrical, heating, plumbing, energy management, micro-generation, ductwork, ventilation, fire and security, and wireless systems.

This article originally appeared on the ECA website under the headline, "One third of businesses still unclear over Brexit." It was first published on 3 December 2020.


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