A third of builders expect workloads to fall again this year, according to the latest survey from the Federation of Master Builders.
Around 56% of those questioned have been workloads fall in the first quarter as far as the amount of private sector housing work is concerned.
Richard Diment, director general of the FMB said: “The results from our latest state of trade survey show that the building industry in still in recession. The majority of building companies are reporting lower workloads with one in three expecting a further decline in the next three months.
“What is particularly alarming is the abrupt slowdown in the amount of public sector work with 51% of companies reporting lower workloads in the public sector compared to 31% just three months ago. What this shows is that cuts in local authority budgets are already hitting a hard pressed building industry and future prospects after the general election do not look good.”
He continued: “Prospects for employment in the construction sector are also not good with 55% of building companies not expecting to take on any new staff over the next six months. This is bad very news for school leavers looking to get a job in the construction sector this summer. We are now in serious danger of repeating the mistakes of the last recession in the early 1990s when thousands of young people were denied the opportunity to learn a trade with the result that the construction sector suffered a serious skills gap when it did emerge from the recession in the mid 1990s.
“The building industry is a vital part of the British economy responsible for 9% of the UK’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) but unless the political parties do more to speak up for our industry its contribution to the economy both in terms of wealth and job creation will be diminished. As the political parties gear up for the general election we need to hear more about what they will do to support British builders who face a very uncertain future. A commitment to skills and training would be a start as would cutting the amount of growing regulation that small building firms have to cope with.”