Building firms fear drop in workload

NEARLY one in three building companies are expecting their workloads to fall this year, and more than half have seen a reduction in the amount of private sector housing work in the first quarter of this year, according to the latest state of trade survey from the Federation of Master Builders (FMB).
Richard Diment, Director General of the FMB, said: “The results from our latest state of trade survey show the building industry is still in recession.

“The majority of building companies are reporting lower workloads with one in three expecting a further decline in the next three months.

“What is alarming is the abrupt slowdown in the amount of public sector work, with 51 per cent of companies reporting lower workloads compared with 31 per cent just three months ago.

“What this shows is that cuts in local authority budgets are hitting a hard-pressed building industry, and future prospects after the general election do not look good.

“Prospects for employment in the construction sector are also not good, with 55 per cent of building companies not expecting to take on any new staff over the next six months.

“This is very bad news for school leavers looking to get a job in the construction sector this summer.

“We are in serious danger of repeating the mistakes of the last recession in the early 1990s when thousands of young people were denied the opportunity to learn a trade.

“The result was that the construction sector suffered a serious skills gap when it did emerge from the recession in the mid 1990s.

“The building industry is a vital part of the British economy, responsible for nine per cent of the UK‘s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), but unless the political parties do more to speak up for our industry, its contribution to the economy in terms of wealth and job creation will be diminished.

“As the political parties gear up for the general election, we need to hear more about what they will do to support British builders who face a very uncertain future.

“A commitment to skills and training would be a start.”

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