Chief executive worried the government is getting the wrong message

The chief executive of privately held contractor Willmott Dixon has accused listed firms of talking up the current health of the market in order to protect their share prices.

Rick Willmott said the language used by publicly listed companies was in danger of giving the wrong message to the government at a time when firms were being hit by falling order books.

“Plcs are less eager to recognise the reality because there is no immediate financial incentive,” he said. “What would government draw from some of the updates? That ’everything is hunky dory and our measures don’t seem to be impacting too badly on a sector that said it was beholden to us.’”

He cited the recent forecast from the Construction Products Association, which said prospects for the sector in the next two years were “very poor”.

He added. “The last thing I want is the government to get the wrong impression about the industry. I want [it] to be thinking they’ve got a real issue with 10% of the economy and need to do something.”