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No end to downturn

The recession is likely to continue for at least another year, financial analysts said this week.

Charles Stanley analyst Geoff Allum said civil engineering consultants were looking at “pragmatic” solutions to the economic gloom to keep companies in good health when the upturn does eventually come.

Allum said this meant highly competitive pricing in the short term. “Work tends to come from government spend and there is no money.

“At the moment there is much more competition, but there is no room for smaller consultants to break into something bigger.”

Geoff Allum, Charles Stanley

“They will do only what is essential,” he said.

“At the moment there is much more competition, but there is no room for smaller consultants to break into something bigger and the incumbents are all fighting a lot harder,” he said.

Prime minister Gordon Brown last week acknowledged that public spending cuts would be inevitable, and that departments were looking at possible targets.

Schools secretary Ed Balls was the first to confirm cuts − saying some £2bn of savings would be made in the annual education budget from 2011.

The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats have already confirmed that public spending budgets would be cut − the Liberal Democrats leader Nick Glegg telling his party conference that cuts would be “savage”.

His economics spokesman Vince Cable this week even said Crossrail was not a priority and questioned whether public money should be spent on the £15.9bn project.

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