Over half of construction SMEs report lower workloads in public sector as local authorities tighten the purse strings

The director general of the Federation of Master Builders says the building industry is still in recession.

Results from the FMB’s latest state of trade survey show that one in three building firms expect workloads to fall this year.

The FMB’s director general, Richard Diment, said: “The results from our latest state of trade survey show that the building industry in 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 particularly alarming is the abrupt slowdown in the amount of public sector work with 51% of companies reporting lower workloads in the public sector compared to 31% just three months ago. What this shows is that cuts in local authority budgets are already hitting a hard pressed building industry and future prospects after the general election do not look good.”

The survey also revealed that 55% of firms will not be taking on staff over the next six months. The news means school leavers will struggle to find work.

What is particularly alarming is the abrupt slowdown in the amount of public sector work

FMB's director general, Richard Diment

Diment continued: “We are now 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 with the result that the construction sector suffered a serious skills gap when it did emerge from the recession in the mid 1990s.”

“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 as would cutting the amount of growing regulation that small building firms have to cope with.”

The FMB represents small-to-medium sized building firms and is the largest trade association in the construction industry.