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Up to 20,000 jobs lost in Scottish construction in 2008

Around 20,000 jobs in the Scottish construction industry will have been lost in 2008 according to new figures published today by the Scottish Building Federation.

The quarterly Scottish Construction Monitor that tracks business confidence among Scotland’s construction industry leaders showed that the average level of redundancies across companies of all sizes was eight per cent of the workforce.

In addition to highlighting the continued job losses the survey showed that business confidence has sunk to a rating of -65.2 with 83 per cent of respondents indicating that they are either slightly or much less confident in the prospects facing their business over the next 12 months, compared to the previous 12 months.

The dramatic contraction in the capacity raises doubts about Scotland’s ability to build the new projects announced last week as part of the Strategic Transport Projects Review.

Michael Levack, chief executive of the Scottish Building Federation, said: “Today’s results highlight the grave situation facing our industry. Real questions must be asked about Scotland’s ability to build the inspirational projects of the future unless urgent steps are taken to keep skilled construction workers employed in the industry.

“The collapse in the housing industry coupled with the slowdown in public sector work has reduced confidence in our sector to a new low. Employers need to know that there will be work in 2009 to allow them to keep staff numbers at the current level.”

Mr Levack appealed to the government to form a new Construction Taskforce charged with keeping apprentices in the industry and working with public sector bodies to ensure a future for Scotland’s 220,000 remaining construction workers.

“Scotland’s construction receives no specific grants or financial support from Government and yet we continue to recruit more apprentices every year than any other industry. All we ask for is a steady pipeline of work that can maintain capacity in the industry until projects like those announced last week are ready to start in 2012.”