John Carter, the boss of one of Britain’s biggest housing and plumbing supplies business Travis Perkins, said that the influx of Eastern European migrants is boosting construction and killing off the Do-It-Yourself (DIY) culture.
Carter told the Telegraph newspaper that people are now opting to get things built for them amid the flood of skilled Eastern Europeans entering Britain which have therefore allowed construction companies to offer services at a much more competitive price.
“It was driven by the influx of Eastern European builders who were skilled and competent,” said Carter to the Telegraph on Sunday. “They regulated prices and gave people a choice. The UK fell out of love with DIY from the peak when Changing Rooms and Ground Force [home improvement shows] were on TV.”
“‘Do it for me’ is here to stay. We’ve reversed the capacity for DIY over the past 10 years. There’s a lack of ambition to do it and people prefer to enjoy their social life than to do DIY.”
“We would much prefer [the public] bring in a tradesman who they know will do the job well. Overall [people] will get much more satisfaction from the job [if it has been done professionally].”
In 2004, eight Eastern European countries joined the European Union, meaning that people were able to easily migrate to any other EU country.
According to the Office for National Statistics, there are 3 million non-UK citizens working in Britain, out of the 31 million strong British labour force. As of December last year, the number of Eastern Europeans working in Britain rose by 23% to 895,000.
Travis Perkins is worth £5.6 billion and owns the Wickes chain. It is tipped to announce 60 new outlets to be added to its existing portfolio of 200 Wickes stores.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.