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MSPs to examine what impact Brexit could have on Scotland’s ‘vital’ construction sector

(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

THE impact Brexit could have on Scotland’s construction sector is to be probed by a Holyrood committee.

The inquiry will also consider the effect technological changes and automation will have on the industry – which employs more than 154,000 people, 7% of the Scottish workforce.

The work is to be carried out by the Economy, Energy and Fair Work Committee, with convener Gordon Lindhurst saying MSPs are keen to discover how challenges facing the building industry can be overcome.

He said: “Construction is a vital sector in Scotland as it drives and underpins the economy with its knock-on effect on other sectors.

“As well as being a major employer, the sector also delivers infrastructure for housing, transport, education and community, and contributes £21.5 billion to Scotland’s gross domestic product.

“However, the sector has its challenges and we want to hear views and suggestions on how these can be overcome. We also want to find out how we can encourage young people to work in the industry.”

The construction sector recruits more apprentices than any other industry, with 6,104 people starting modern apprenticeships in 2017-18.

But only 1% of this group were female, showing work is needed to boost gender balance.

Consultants have also suggested that productivity in the sector has flat-lined since 1994, in contrast to a 30% increase that has been seen across the economy as a whole.

The inquiry will also examine the role of the Construction Scotland Innovation Centre, which aims to help businesses “deliver transformational change in construction”.

The centre, which was set up in 2014, is funded by Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise, and the Scottish Funding Council.