Figures are three times higher than this time last year

The construction industry was hit by 31 000 redundancies in the three months leading to October, the latest figures from the Office of National Statistics has revealed.

Data from the latest Labour Market Statistics showed redundancies across the industry had more than doubled since the period between April and June, which saw 13 000 redundancies.

In the same three-month period up to October last year, the figure was less than 10 000.

Construction has been one of the sectors hardest hit by the economic downturn, second only to finance and business, which saw 34 000 employees lose their jobs in this period.

The impact has yet to be felt widely in the m&e contracting sector.

Unite Amicus national officer Tom Hardacre said: “With regards to the capital development, we haven’t seen a major difference yet, but the repair and maintenance side of things has taken a hit, and there have been considerable redundancies within that sector.

“When companies cut back, these people are seen as less important and are the first to go. I think that’s crazy, and I would say they shouldn’t be cutting back.”

Hardacre added: “We’re all concerned that the overall m&e situation could get worse. There are projects in the pipeline that could be shelved. For example, there’s lots of environmental work on power stations that could be vulnerable.”

The latest construction industry redundancy figures come with the news that unemployment has risen to 1.86 million, an increase of 137 000 in the three months to October. The unemployment rate is now at 6%.