Freelance builder demand across the country remained firm in March – particularly in the South-West, South-East, and East of England – with average national weekly earnings rising to £899.
“The only region noticeably off trend is London,” Hudson Contract Managing Director Ian Anfield observes. “And it’s nothing more serious than a drop of £10 a week. I believe it’s probably down to a combination of political uncertainty, a slowing housing market, and perhaps even the long-awaited sign-off on the new Spurs stadium, which had been keeping many labour-only subbies in continuous work.
“I think, too, that Brexit anxiety is felt more keenly in the capital than elsewhere, with a variety of commercial projects on hold right now as businesses step back from new investment. So while many would expect London to lead the way with subbies’ earnings, the reality is that demand is currently strongest of all in the East of England.”
|Region||March 2019 Average||Change from February 2019|
|Yorkshire & Humber||£842.00||+0.1%|
|East of England||£965.00||+2.1%|
To view our interactive pay trends map click here
And the losers:
From the national perspective, the latest IHS Markit/CIPS UK Construction Total Activity Index is also up slightly from 49.5 to 49.7 – although any number below 50 indicates a downturn.
Ian Anfield comments: “Residential outside London remains stable, but the fall in civil engineering work is likely caused by some large, government-led infrastructure projects winding down, whilst new projects like HS2 are still in their early stages.
“We are also seeing tier two contractors pricing up work for the tier one contractors to reflect the risk of dealing with the financially troubled outsourcing sector. Meanwhile, the weak pound is increasing the cost of importing steel, concrete, plaster and plastic building products, all of which have been in demand by those who have been stocking up on materials to mitigate against a possible No Deal EU exit.
“I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve written about continuing Brexit uncertainty, but no matter what does – or does not happen – we can at least be sure the industry will continue to rely on self-employed construction workers and the highly-skilled, specialist labour they supply.”