Poor transport infrastructure is costing small construction firms £181m a year in lost productivity and profits, according to research published this week.

The report, by Bibby Financial Services, has led to calls for a government action to deal with the problem.

Traffic congestion is the biggest worry, with 40% of small firms reporting a damaging effect on business. Of those questioned, 14% said they lost production time because of staff lateness, and 24% reported customer frustration with deliveries and services.

David Robertson, chief executive of Bibby Financial Services, said: “Every business sector seems to suffer as a result of the country’s poor transport infrastructure, but it is clear that construction companies are being seriously affected.”

Steve Collie, transport chairman at the Federation of Small Businesses, said: “Transport is an essential tool of the trade for small firms. A package of measures is what is needed to tackle the long-standing problems.”