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Recession continues to hit builders hard warns FMB

This figure though is a slight improvement on the 61% expecting lower workloads during the last three months of 2008. The survey indicates that there may be a slowing in the rate of decline in private housing, public non-residential new build, and public non-residential repair and maintenance.

The brightest news is in the public non-residential new build sector which saw the strongest improvement, with 14% of FMB builders reporting that their workloads had increased in this sector.

FMB Director-General Richard Diment said: "Given the weak economic outlook, the negative workload responses from FMB builders are hardly surprising as this general gloom surrounding the UK’s future economic prospects convinces many companies to put expansions, moves and new office building on hold for the foreseeable future.

"Our latest State of Trade Survey demonstrates clearly just how badly small building firms are being hit and how their suffering translates directly into falls in other sectors of the economy. There is no doubt that the drastic fall in industrial and commercial construction activity is due to the very real fears that businesses have about their prospects for the future.

"This is further evidence, if any were needed, of how wrong the Government’s decision to proceed with the above inflation increases in business rates and the suspension of business rate relief on empty properties are. Clearly the last thing business needs in these conditions are further tax rises."

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