Industry predicts worse 2009, banks pressurise Taylor Wimpey, government may miss affordable housing targets

In its poll of the UK's top 100 contractors, Construction News (CN) found that a worrying 97% thought prospects for the industry would get worse in 2009.

Of the senior executives polled, not one expected growth in the economy in 2009, with a dire 90% predicting that their companies will perform worse, or significantly worse next year.

Building magazine reports on the continuing plight of Taylor Wimpey, which is being pressed by banks to relax lending terms by next month after it failed to reach an agreement last week.

The contractor's four lenders, HSBC, Lloyds TSB, Barclays and Royal Bank of Scotland, are thought to want a deal agreed early into their their fourth quarters, which run from October to December, to ensure Taylor Wimpey doesn't breach its loan-to-value covenants, a key test to ensure a company is operating within its means.

In related news, despite announcing a £1bn housing rescue package this week, the government has admitted that it may miss affordable housing targets.

Speaking at the launch of the package, Richard McCarthy, director general of housing and planning at the communities department, said the government might not be able to build the number of affordable homes planned for the next three years because the amount of subsidy required for each home was likely to rise.

It had planned to build 70,000 affordable homes a year by 2011, but the £400m affordable housing programme, announced as part of the rescue package, does not get any new money, and instead allows the department to spend money planned for 2011 now.

The effects of the credit crunch also spread to other areas of the industry this week, as it emerged that Davis Langdon is now making job cuts. A number of cancelled projects during the summer forced the QS's London office to axe 13 staff.