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Nine in ten construction workers relied on government payments during lockdown – report

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Stock photo: PA
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Stock photo: PA

Almost nine in ten construction workers relied on the Pandemic Unemployment Payment or the Temporary wage Subsidy Scheme at the height of Covid-19.

This is according to a report from the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation.

Government measures aimed at limited the spread of the deadly virus resulted in the closure of all non-essential construction sites across the country.

And by mid-June around 59pc of those who had been working in the sector were estimated to be on the PUP or TWSS as the economy started to re-open, according to the report.

The knock-on impact of the shutdown in building sites is that housing completions are expected to fall to just 13,800 this year.

Investment in housing is expected to fall by 35pc, while non-residential construction activity is forecast to decline by 36pc this year.

A partial rebound in 2021 is expected with activity expected to be up 22.5pc, according to the report.

House prices are expected to fall 5pc this year, however this will be followed by a 3.5pc rebound next year, according to research from Davy.

Before Covid-19 35,000 houses were needed to meet demand, with just 21,000 homes built last year, as the market continued to experience supply constraints.

Ibec, the business lobby group, estimates that around 15,000 houses will be built this year.

In Ireland, the construction sector has yet to fully recover from the previous recession.

From a high of 240,000 in 2007, employment in the sector fell to 81,000 in 2013.

However, the numbers have increased again to 148,300 at the end of last year.

And the latest report from the Department of Business suggests the sector is “well positioned” to return to high levels of activity quickly due to the underlying demand, the implementation of the government’s national development plan, and the nature of the sector.

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