Claims of exploitation

Suppliers ‘using Brexit to drive up prices’, say builders

vaughan-hartBuilding firms are concerned that some suppliers are using concerns over the Brexit decision as an excuse to increase prices.

Scottish Building Federation leader Vaughan Hart has called for vigilance to guard against exploitation.

The warning comes amid signs that Brexit is driving up the cost of bricks, timber, metal products and insulation.

Three quarters of respondents to the Scottish Building Federation’s quarterly monitor expect supply costs to continue rising marginally over the next 12 months.

Even so, confidence among Scottish construction employers has recovered after slumping to a three-year low in the wake of the Brexit vote in June.

Mr Hart said: “At the moment, the construction industry is experiencing the same uncertainties as those facing the wider economy.

“In that context, I’m encouraged that our members’ confidence seems quite resilient, having rebounded back into positive territory this quarter following last quarter’s negative reading. 

“In the current climate, it’s important that we don’t inadvertently talk ourselves into an economic downturn by over-analysing the economic indicators out there or jumping to conclusions about how the economy is performing when these aren’t borne out by experience on the ground.”

On the issue of supply costs, he said: “We need to remain vigilant against suppliers exploiting the current economic uncertainty to increase costs artificially.

“I would encourage building employers to bring any such practices to our attention so that we can raise these with Government and make sure industry competitiveness isn’t adversely affected as a result.”

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