Martin Bennison, Head of Construction at Ultimate Finance, responding to the latest IHS Markit UK construction PMI figures, said:

“Today’s figures show the UK construction industry’s shrinkage is now more than a blip. The downturn indicated at the beginning of the year is now persistent with output falling at the steepest rate since 2009. This trend is mirrored in the number of enquiries coming into our specialist construction team. We’ve seen a 300% increase on this time last year in funding enquires from primarily supply chain companies looking for invoice finance facilities to shore up their cashflow.

“Clients are telling us they’re seeing weaker housebuilding demand, dented consumer confidence and high material prices. As tough as it is, let’s not underestimate them. Resilient SMEs involved in the construction supply chain will do what successful businesses do – make alternative plans and get their heads down until the situation begins to resolve itself.

“However, when politicians and economists reflect on today’s figures, it would be prudent for them to remember that the reasons cited in today’s report are being reflected on the ground, and are literally affecting people’s livelihoods.”