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FMB urges Labour to work with small and large businesses post-Brexit

But Brian Berry welcomes importance of investing in training and upskilling

Labour will need to work with businesses large and small to deliver its vision of a strong economy, the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) has said in response to Jeremy Corbyn’s speech at the Labour Party Conference today.

Brian Berry, FMB chief executive said: “Jeremy Corbyn’s focus today on the importance of investing in training and upskilling is welcome. Our industry desperately needs more of the construction apprentices Mr Corbyn mentioned in his speech to be the skilled workers of tomorrow. Our members, thousands of small businesses across the UK, are united in wanting to see many more young people being trained to higher skill levels. They also recognise the importance of being able to upskill our existing workforce. Though robot bricklayers may be a way off yet, we know that, like other sectors, ours will need to innovate and adapt, continuing to develop the traditional skilled trades, while adapting to and incorporating new technologies from low carbon building to greater digitalisation.”

Berry continued: “To achieve the high skilled, high productivity economy, which Mr Corbyn and his team are calling for, will require a Government and public sector institutions, working with small businesses across the country, especially in key sectors like construction. Plans for investment in skills and a network of regional investment banks, which could potentially improve access to finance for small firms, are all ideas which could receive widespread support from within the business community.

Berry concluded: “But if the voices of our members and others are not heard, if business and government are working at cross-purposes, then the likelihood of such investment and innovation being successful is very slight. We need to hear much more from Mr Corbyn and his team in the coming months and years as to how they plan to work with business large, and small, to make sure that we have the right skills, the right infrastructure and the right investment to deliver the vision of a post-Brexit British economy that they are describing.”