The economy is: “on a knife edge,” with the construction sector, often taken as a bellwether for the rest of the economy, looking dangerously fragile according to alarming statistics published by the Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA) today.
CECA’s workloads trends survey recorded the worst-ever trading conditions in its history, with 80% of companies reporting a fall in workload compared to the same period last year.
CECA National Director Rosemary Beales said the government needed to intervene to avoid a ‘double whammy’ of reduced workloads now, and then reduced spending post-election:
“These figures must put the Government on red alert. The economy is on a knife edge with a danger of slipping back into recession. The growth required to prevent this situation can only be achieved by investing in critical infrastructure.
“Yet at this very moment the UK looks set to face an ‘infrastructure crunch’, as under-investment leads to congestion and failure of our networks. It is vital that the private and public sector work together to address these issues, releasing the brake that will otherwise stifle the UK’s return to growth.”
78% of firms reported that they had lower orders now than a year ago - just 14% had higher orders, while 93% of firms expected their workload to be as low or lower in 12 months’ time.
CECA also found:
- 69% of firms have cut number of skilled operatives in the last year
- 82% report lower tender prices for new work
- Resource availability problems are now almost non-existent