In the final quarter of 2009, the construction industry in the UK provided employment to approximately 2,200,000 people. There were just short of 200,000 building firms in Great Britain in the same year. Of these, around 75,000 employed a single worker and 62 employed in excess of 1,200 workers The orders received from the private sector were for more than £18 million, whilst orders from the public sector were for over £15 million. Things were going reasonably well for the industry.
However, contrast those performance figures with those contained in the most recent report from The Office Of National Statistics, which shows that:
a) New orders in the final quarter of 2011 fell by 16.3 percent when compared to the first quarter;
b) The total for new building orders has now fallen to the lowest level since the third quarter of 1980;
c) New orders fell by 23.2 percent in comparison with new orders during the same period of time in 2010;
d) Only one sector of the building industry (private industrial) exhibited growth from the first to the second quarter of the year.
The effect of these reductions on new orders has been extremely damaging to the building industry in general and individual tradesmen in particular. The building industry can provide work for many hundreds of thousands of people. The tax revenues to be made from a thriving building industry are a huge benefit to the economy. Let’s all hope that government will spare a thought for the building industry and introduce more positive policies that are geared towards restoring the industry to a position of strength. That will, in itself, stimulate the overall economic recovery in the UK.