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Thu August 22 2019

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Brexit impasse threatens to cripple construction says Balfour boss

16 Jan Balfour Beatty chief executive Leo Quinn has delivered some straight talking to government, warning that Brexit negotiations were bringing the construction industry to a halt.

Leo Quinn was one of several business leaders to take part in a conference call with chancellor Philip Hammond, Brexit secretary Steve Barclay and business secretary Greg Clark last night following the government’s resounding defeat in the House of Commons on its Brexit plans.

According to Sky News, which revealed the phone call, the other business leaders on the call were Tesco chairman John Allan, who is also president of the CBI, and Amazon UK boss Dough Gurr.

Balfour Beatty chief executive Leo Quinn said: "I would like to know when we might get back to a normal functioning government. Decisions are being delayed on HS2, new nuclear, Heathrow expansion.

"The enemy of business is delay and procrastination, and the construction industry will face large-scale restructuring where it cannot carry the resources it will need over the next 25 years, and capability will have to be let go.

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"Once resources are lost to industry it is very difficult to get them to come back; the next six months are critical."

The government’s proposals setting out terms for the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union was rejected by an overwhelming majority of the House of Common last night. MPs voted by 432 votes to 202 to reject the deal.

However, with some MPs rejecting the deal for being too soft and others rejecting it for being too hard, there appears to be no prospect of a Goldilocks ‘just right’ solution.

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