Scottish Building Federation blames SNP spending review

Scottish construction confidence has taken a dive after the SNP government’s controversial spending review last month.

Industry confidence north of the border fell 13 points during the last quarter to -19, after three successive quarters of recovering confidence, according to the survey by the Scottish Building Federation (SBF).

SBF chief executive Michael Levack blamed the SNP’s spending review for the drop in optimism, which includes policies such as a hike in business rates to raise £850m over the next three years.

Levack added builders were worried about the Scottish government’s commitment to capital spending, despite the SNP’s pledge to “squeeze every penny out of every pound to inject… in new infrastructure”. The country faces a 36.7% cut in its capital budget in real terms under the UK-wide spending review.

Only 19% of Scottish builders said they were more confident about their business prospects over the next year, down from 30% the previous quarter.

Levack said: “Following successive quarters when industry confidence appeared to be gradually recovering, this latest survey shows confidence now heading back into reverse.

“I believe this must be a symptom of the significant cuts to public capital spending now confirmed by the Scottish government’s spending review, combined with continued sluggish performance in the private sector.”