Poll reveals 22% of consultants believe construction will be in top three sectors worst affected, while just 10% thought UK firms were well positioned

Construction is likely to be amongst the top three sectors worst affected by the recession, a poll of business consultants has found.

The survey of 70 members of the Institute for Turnaround (IFT) found 22% thought the industry would be among the sectors worst hit by the slowdown. This is up from 2% in 2008.

Only 10% of the institute's members, who overhaul struggling companies, thought UK firms were well positioned to deal with the economic downturn, up from 4% last year. The respondents thought businesses in London would be hardest hit, followed by the Midlands, the south-east and the north-east.

John Jenkins, chief executive of GE Commercial Finance's business finance unit, which conducted the poll, said businesses could borrow against assets to improve their cash flow. He said: "Releasing cash tied up in assets such as invoices, inventory, plant and machinery can often provide businesses with the headroom they need to stay afloat, if not expand.”

Christine Elliott, the IFT chief executive, said businesses should cut costs and monitor cash flow.