WORKLOADS at smaller firms are at their lowest ebb since 1999, the latest trade survey from the Federation of Master Builders has warned.
In the first three months of the year, 38 per cent of builders across the country reported declining workloads, compared with just 28 per cent who said work had increased.
Overall more than threequarters of companies added that staff levels were the same or lower than in the last three months of 2005.
Firms in England bore the brunt of the decline, reporting decreases in repair, maintenance and improvement work. Regions including the north-east, Scotland and Wales bucked the trend, with increased workloads.