Trade contractors see order books shrink

Grant Prior 12 years ago
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Shrinking order books for subcontractors have heightened fears of a “double dip” recession among specialists.

The latest NSCC State of Trade Survey revealed that 46% of specialists suffered a decrease in orders during the fourth quarter of 2011 compared to 37% in quarter three.

Government spending cutbacks are hitting home with only 57% of specialist contractors now working on public sector projects compared to 67% in the previous quarter.

Firms are also gloomy about future prospects with almost a third of trade contractors braced for further reductions in workloads this year and a quarter expecting to downsize their businesses.

Retentions continue to be a blight on the industry with 78% of specialists having money withheld at an average of £151,022 per company.

One concrete specialist said: “Main contractors are holding on to our money for longer producing spurious claims to counteract our requests for payment”.

NSCC Chief Executive Suzannah Nichol said: “In order to overcome the desperate situation faced by specialist contractors, it is essential that the supply chain works together to increase efficiency and ensure prompt payment.

“Those specialist contractors that continue to invest in their workforce and manage their cash flow will be the ones that are best placed to deliver when the economy returns to growth.”

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