CEA (Construction Equipment Association) Brexit Barometer

In the final run up to the EU referendum the CEA (Construction Equipment Association) surveyed its members on their position – should the UK stay or should the UK leave the EU? Of those expressing a view – 63% supported the Brexit ‘Remain’ camp – and 11% sided with the ‘Leave’ option. However, over a quarter (26%) of respondents recorded an ‘Undecided’ on their corporate position.
The CEA Brexit survey results are similar to a poll of its members by the EEF, the manufacturer’s organization, in which 61% were pro-EU membership, 5% against and 24% undecided or with no corporate position.
In a similar survey conducted amongst participants at the PLANTWORX exhibition suggests support is holding within the industry for the Remain campaign. The results suggest that support is strongest at a company policy level, with 48% favouring remaining within the EU, compared with 26% in favour of leaving. In comparison, when asked for a personal opinion, the margin is narrower, with 52% in favour of maintaining membership, while 42% are in favour of leaving.
At the recent Construction Productivity Forum in London on the 8th of June, a “show of hands” was asked for on the subject of the EU Referendum. Amongst an audience of c.100, the vast majority showed support for remaining in the EU, with only 3 declaring support for the Leave campaign.
Rob Oliver Chief Executive CEA (Construction Equipment Association said, “Now we are into the final countdown for the referendum, it remains clear that a significant majority of the CEA’s members, who have a corporate position, support “Remain”. However, when individuals are asked the same question it seems that the response is more Eurosceptic.
From the CEA’s point of view, we have had a lot of challenges and frustrations over the years working with the European institutions, so we know that the current situation is far from perfect. However, we also know that business confidence thrives on a degree of stability – and Britain’s withdrawal from the EU represents a giant leap into uncertainty. The EU market itself, whilst not buoyant, still remains an important part of the construction equipment sales picture.”
Exports of construction equipment to the EU27
The CEA have conducted some analysis of exports of construction and earthmoving equipment as an issue of relevance to the Brexit referendum.
For equipment, this illustrates how exports to EU27 countries have remained stable at c.£150-170 million per quarter across the last 3 years, while overall exports have declined. For example, in Jan/Mar 2016 exports to the EU27 were £163 million, similar to the 2013 quarterly average, and 1% up on Jan/Mar 2015. During the same period, exports to markets outside of the EU27 have declined significantly. For example, in Jan/Mar 2016 exports to other markets were down 38% on the 2013 quarterly average at £187million. As a result of the stability of exports to the EU27 across the last 3 years, their share of total exports has increased from 35% in 2013 to 47% in Jan/Mar 2016.