Thousands of job losses are being predicted in 2013 following a survey of Scottish construction firms, says debt management company Scottishtrustdeed.co.uk.
The new figures from the Scottish Building Federation (SBF) show almost 8,000 were likely to have been lost in the industry in 2012 with more yet to come. The figures have prompted the SBF to call for any capital intended for construction projects to be used immediately to counteract the losses.
Of the different sectors of the economic market, house building and public sector new work were particularly badly hit in 2012. Employers are expecting a continuing poor outlook and more loss of jobs due to activity that was "particularly muted for 2013, with a significant majority of firms expecting new orders to decline across all categories of new public sector work.”
SBF chief executive Michael Levack said: "There's strong evidence here to suggest public sector investment in construction projects has fallen back significantly over the past year. What's more, our members expect this trend to continue into 2013.
"By direct comparison, the private sector is generating more new orders than the public sector. But those firms reporting increased new orders from the private sector are still substantially outnumbered by those who have seen private sector orders decline over the past 12 months as well."
The SBF is the lead voice for the construction industry in Scotland, a sector whose output exceeded £10 billion annually prior to the start of the recession in 2008. With growing concerns of a triple dip recession in the UK, the federation is now calling for any public money earmarked for building schemes to be used immediately to help finish projects that have ground to a halt due to a lack of funds to complete them.
"If this investment only begins to have an impact six months or a year from now, that will be too late for those construction businesses already contemplating bankruptcy this winter,” said Mr Levack.
A spokesperson for Trust Deeds Scotland provider, Scottishtrustdeed.co.uk said: “The length of this recession is really taking its toll on the construction industry, and any hopes that 2013 will bring an end to the economic woes of the last few years look unlikely to happen according to the SBF.”
The construction industry acts as a barometer for the overall health of the UK and specifically Scottish economy. During growth times developers invest in new businesses and projects, which in turn creates a demand for new domestic, commercial and industrial properties, so consistent growth of the construction industry across several quarters of a financial year is usually an indication that a recession is over.
“Scotland has been holding its breath, hoping for good economic news that would kick-start the construction industry and create jobs and growth,” said the spokesperson. “Unfortunately unless the Government can start spending some of its earmarked project capital, 2013 is already shaping up to be a hard year for Scotland and its construction industry.”