Earnings for self-employed plumbers fall in January – But sector is looking strong

Earnings for self-employed plumbers fell last month – which is traditional for the start of the year.

Hudson Contract said average weekly pay was £938 during January, a fall of 6.3% on December. The company said the overall number of tradespeople on its books last month stood at 87% of pre-pandemic levels.

The figure was 90% before the festive break when most construction sites shut for a fortnight.

Ian Anfield, managing director, said it was business as usual for most plumbing contractors in spite of the third national lockdown.

“We were concerned that Covid would prevent eastern Europeans getting back to Britain after Christmas.

“We also heard reports from some clients that some tradespeople were using the self-employment income support scheme to take extra paid holiday at the Chancellor’s expense.

“While this is most certainly happening in some cases, on the whole the return to work has been at the same level as in previous years.”

The best-performing regions for earnings growth were the South West (up 27%), Wales (up 6.7%) and the East of England (up 0.3%).

Hudson supplies professional services to more than 2,500 construction SMEs and has a turnover of £1.6bn.

Mr Anfield added: “There are widespread reports of full order books among our clients.

“However, all that can change quickly if the housing market slumps and major housebuild-ers turn off the taps.”

The government told the construction industry last month it should continue to operate during the national lockdown and is making a major contribution to the economic recovery.

Hudson delivers the most accurate indication of subcontractor pay trends across the con-struction industry, publishing the average pay for a spectrum of 17 different trades split across 10 regions in England and Wales.

It supplies statistics to the Bank of England to keep policymakers updated with real-time insights on demand for skilled labour

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