Over the past 15 years there has been a marked jump in UK population growth to a rate not seen since the 1960s. This has inevitably stretched public and many private resources, but it has also supported economic activity, particularly in the construction sector.
The report concludes that migration is necessary to construction. It dampens the harmful effects of having a volatile labour market, while tight regulation of migration would damage construction activity in the UK.
In the short-term, construction firms will be attracted to draw more heavily on migrant workers as the industry emerges from recession, but without regulatory control, the most effective way to reduce migration into construction jobs is to invest heavily in training, mentoring and developing young UK citizens. This in the process reduces the burden of youth unemployment.
Finally, to reduce the migrant flows into and out of the construction industry, investment in the built environment needs to be such that it reduces volatility in demand nationally, locally and by sector.