Concern over Scottish construction employment levels

Major infrastructure projects such as the Queensferry Crossing have dried up

THE Scottish Building Federation (SBF) has outlined concerns for the future of Scotland’s construction sector after figures showed employment in the industry fell by 5,000 in the third quarter of 2018 and output value dropped by £1.5 billion annually.

The trade body spoke out following the release of the Office for National Statistics figures. During the year to September 2018, a £300 million rise in output from the housing sector failed to offset significant decreases in output from infrastructure, public sector new works and the private commercial sector. As a result, the value of annual output from the industry dropped from over £15.5 billion over the 12 months to September 2017 to less than £14 billion a year later.

SBF managing director Vaughan Hart said, “Whilst it’s encouraging to see an increase in output from the housing sector over the past 12 months, other sectors of the industry are faring less well. We’ve known for some time that, with the conclusion of major projects such as the Queensferry Crossing and the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route, infrastructure output was going to decline. A 32% drop in other public sector works is an indication of continuing pressure on local government budgets. A 23% fall in private commercial work is worrying evidence of the negative impact of continued uncertainty around Brexit on investment appetite.

“In combination, these declines have wiped £1.5 billion off the annual value of the construction industry to the Scottish economy and have resulted in the loss of 5,000 Scottish construction jobs during the third quarter of 2018.”