Small engineering businesses workloads declined in April despite government spending initiatives

Over 75% of small and medium-sized civil engineers are experiencing falling workloads according to a new survey.

The Civil Engineering Contractors Association said 78% of SMEs reported falling workloads in April compared to 68% in November 2008.

The industry body said that only 16% of firms reported an uplift in workload since accelerated spending for SMEs was announced by the government six months ago.

Ancticipated job losses in the SME sector over the same period rose from 17% to 20%.

Firms also reported a rise in the number of supply chain members or clients who had gone bust - 70% in April compared to 56% in November.

The survey said there had been a drop in the number of firms reporting payment disputes down from 76 to 69%.

Commenting on the results of the survey, CECA National director Rosemary Beales, said: “Sadly six months on from the government announcing that it was going to accelerate spending to support the industry, this light at the end of the tunnel for smaller civil engineering firms seems further away than ever.”

“The government talks of ‘Building Britain’s Future’, yet is seems happy to consign many of those working to maintain and enhance the UK’s essential infrastructure to the past, forcing a swathe of job cuts on the sector."