Credit crunch hits largest brickmaker as it axes 149 jobs

The impact of the crunch on brick makers intensified this week as Hanson, the sector’s largest firm, axed 149 jobs and announced that it is to close two plants.

It is understood that Hanson is also reviewing its concrete operations in a move that is likely to mean the closure of its concrete block business.

The brick plants to be mothballed are in Steerforth, near Barnsley, and at Measham in Leicestershire. Seventy-six jobs will go at Barnsley and 50 will be lost at Measham.

Although the Measham plant was scheduled for closure anyway, the company said it had brought the date forward. Hanson is building a £30m factory to replace Measham but it will not provide jobs for all of its workers.

 Hanson also announced 23 redundancies at a brickworks in Peterborough in Cambridgeshire.

A spokesperson said: “It’s simply the slump in housebuilding. The knock-on effect is really biting. We’ve got so much stock on the ground right now we simply cannot produce anymore.”

Hanson has closed several factories in the past six months, as have its rivals. Wienerberger, the third-largest brickmaker in the UK, has mothballed two plants .