Fears grow for new projects as redundancy figures are released

Scotland has lost around 20,000 construction jobs in the past year according to new figures published in the latest quarterly Scottish Construction Monitor.

New construction projects were announced last week by the Scottish government as part of the Strategic Transport Projects Review. The Scottish Building Federation, which conducted a survey from 88 building companies, said the results have put the country's plan to build new roads, schools and hospitals in serious doubt.

In addition to highlighting the continued job losses the survey showed that eight in 10 respondents are slightly or much less confident about the prospects facing their business over the next year, compared to the previous 12 months.

The average level of redundancies across companies of all sizes in 2008 was 8% of the workforce, the report said.

Michael Levack, chief executive of the Scottish Building Federation, said: “Today's results highlight the grave situation facing our industry. Real questions must be asked about Scotland's ability to build the inspirational projects of the future unless urgent steps are taken to keep skilled construction workers employed in the industry."

Mr Levack urged the Scottish Government to form a new construction taskforce to keep apprenticeships in the industry and work with public sector bodies to “ensure a future” for Scotland's 220,000 remaining construction workers.

“The collapse in the housing industry coupled with the slowdown in public sector work has reduced confidence in our sector to a new low. Employers need to know that there will be work in 2009 to allow them to keep staff numbers at the current level … All we ask for is a steady pipeline of work that can maintain capacity in the industry until projects like those announced last week are ready to start in 2012,” said Levack.