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Investors 'holding back'

EU poll ‘damaging investment in Scottish property’

Lorraine MacPhailThe referendum on the UK’s future in the European Union is damaging investment in Scotland’s fragile property and construction sector, according to Grant Thornton.

The firm is warning the long-term sustainable recovery of the industry is being compromised as investors hold back on funding new projects ahead of the vote in June.

The warning comes after recent research by Grant Thornton found almost nine out of ten business leaders are opposed to the idea of the UK leaving the EU.

Almost nine in ten (87%) of the 125 CEOs polled throughout Britain said they would like to stay as part of the European Union. However, 90% said they believed the country’s relationship with the EU has to change.

Lorraine Macphail (pictured), Grant Thornton’s head of property and construction in Scotland, said: “We’re hearing increasing reports of significant commercial projects being placed on hold as major investors get nervous about the impending vote.

“There was similar economic fear in the lead up to the Scottish independence referendum, but the timing of the EU referendum has the potential to cause greater damage to the property and construction sector. Grant Thornton’s Scotland Ltd research carried out earlier this year highlighted an industry that was in a period of post-recovery growth, but much of that growth is extremely fragile.

“What the sector is in desperate need of is impartial knowledge and information to enable it to carry on its growth strategy, regardless of the outcome of the vote. The property and construction industry plays a significant role in the Scottish economy, contributing around 6% of GDP. It’s vital that its voice is heard and its questions answered.”

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