Warning on cuts to funds for building sector

Government spending cuts on construction risk deepening the recession and making it harder for the economy to recover in future, the CBI employers’ organisation have warned.

Every £1 spent on construction generates a £2.84 increase in national income according to a report by the CBI’s UK Contractors’ Group, and cuts would diminish gross domestic product (GDP) to the same extent.

John McDonough, chief executive of Carillion and chairman of the CBI’s construction council, said the sector was likely to be in the line of fire when the government attempts to narrow its yawning budget deficit:

‘The public purse can’t afford what it has afforded in the past, but we need to be prepared for what’s going to happen in the next 12 months,’ he said.

‘Construction makes up around 8 per cent of UK GDP and a similar proportion of employment, but it has been hit hard by the recession.

‘Its rate of redundancy, at 28 per 1,000 employees is the highest of any sector, and the short-term nature of much construction work means that the true decline in employment is likely to be greater.’