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Tue April 20 2021

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Optimism soars to new high among Scottish builders

22 Jun 15 Latest quarterly survey of Scottish builders has revealed that their confidence has reached record heights.

Confidence within the Scottish construction industry has hit a new high score of +35, up six points on the first quarter of 2015.

This is the eighth consecutive quarter that Scottish builders’ confidence has been rated positive overall.

The score is published in the latest Scottish Construction Monitor, a quarterly survey of the members of the Scottish Building Federation (SBF). Employers responding to the survey are asked how confident they feel about their company’s prospects over the next 12 months compared to the previous year. The latest confidence rating is the highest recorded since the Scottish Construction Monitor began in 2008.

The percentage of respondents who are more confident about their prospects for the next 12 months compared to the past year has risen from 60% last quarter to 64% this quarter. Conversely, the percentage of respondents less confident about their firm’s future prospects has dropped from 12% in Q1 2015 to 4% this quarter.

Whether this new peak of confidence is in any way connected to the recent electoral success of the Scottish National Party or the election of a Conservative government at Westminster, the report authors neither make comment nor seek to draw any conclusion.

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The latest survey also asked a series of questions about future priorities for levy and grant funding within the UK industry, which is managed by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB).

CITB is undertaking an investment funding review to examine whether current funding arrangements are meeting employer training requirements and how these might be improved in the future. The results of this review will be used to introduce changes to the system in the course of 2016.

Employers responding to the SBF survey identified apprenticeships as their top priority for grant funding, followed by health and safety training and technical or professional training.

Commenting on the survey results, Scottish Building Federation managing director Vaughan Hart said: “It’s encouraging that employers’ confidence about their future prospects is continuing to rise. The results are particularly striking against the backdrop of recent reports that overall business confidence in Scotland has declined due to falling profits.

“In construction, there can be no doubt that margins remain very tight but there is at least a supply of new work out there now, which certainly wasn’t the case two years ago. As we’ve said before, certain sectors of the industry are faring better than others and we’re concerned that industry employment is lagging significantly behind output.

“I’m encouraged that employers view apprenticeships as a top priority for future investment from the industry levy. Hopefully, this finding will add strength to CITB’s arm in prioritising apprenticeship funding as it reviews the future training needs of the industry.”

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