Workloads down as industry suffers in the first three months of 2013


Nearly a third of small and medium UK building firms have shed staff in the first three months of 2013, a survey by the Federation of Master Builders has revealed.

The FMB’s quarterly state of trade survey found 30% of builders have shed staff in the first three months of 2013, up from 27% in the final three months of 2012.

The results also showed a sharp decline in workloads with 39% of respondents reporting a drop, up from 31% in the final quarter of 2012. Plus, the number of respondents reporting and increase in work fell to 18% from 22%.

Respondents predicted that wages, materials and output prices would all go up in the next six months.

Brian Berry, chief executive of the FMB, said a fairly positive set of results in the final quarter of 2012 had indicated the “industry may be turning a corner”.

“These latest survey results, however, paint a bleak picture, and our members are telling us that they are faced with the unenviable choice of putting up their prices or laying off staff,” he said.

He called on the government to cut VAT on home improvements to help stimulate activity in the industry.