Builders ‘still in recession’ says FMB

The Federation of Master Builders says that the building industry is still in recession, despite today’s ONS figures confirming that the UK has just come out of recession.

Builders 'still in recession' says FMB

Figures from the FMB’s State of Trade Survey, for the last quarter of 2009 reveal that 44% of FMB firms expect their workloads to decline in the first three months of 2010. Only 18% expect their workloads to increase.

Around 20% of firms reported higher workloads compared with in the third quarter of the year, a slight increase on the 18% three months ago. Evidence suggests that conditions in the housing market are gradually improving, although concerns remain that the recent house price rises reflect restricted supply rather than a sustained increase in demand.

Workloads in the private housing RM&I sector declined again in the fourth quarter of 2009, but 46% of respondents reported no change in workloads compared with 38% indicating a decline.

The social housing RM&I sector saw lower workloads reported by 45% of firms with just 6% indicating that workloads were higher than in the previous quarter.

Richard Diment, Director-General of the FMB said: “The UK has barely just by the skin of its teeth come out of recession and for the building industry it continues to suffer. A staggering 33% of FMB firms expect to make staff cuts in the first three months of this year.”

“The employment figures from our members’ survey are particularly alarming as, even after seven consecutive quarters of layoffs, 38% of FMB firms reported that they had cut staffing levels. Even more alarming is the fact that 33% of FMB firms expect to have to make staff cuts in the first three months of this year.”

“Despite the urgent need to cut the public expenditure deficit, investment in the construction sector offers the best hope of propelling this country back into recovery because every £1 spent on construction output generates a total of £2.84 in total economic activity. Any cuts in construction would merely cripple an already badly damaged skills base and supply chain and seriously inhibit the building industry’s recovery.”

“The Government must do all it can to help our beleaguered building industry because without its help the industry won’t be able to deliver the homes and infrastructure that will be required when the UK does finally move out of recession.”

About Fiona Russell-Horne

Group Managing Editor across the BMJ portfolio.

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