UK builders ‘lost their jobs on frightening scale’ in March, amid the developing Covid-19 coronavirus crisis, a key survey shows.

Employment in the UK construction sector dropped last month at the fastest pace since September 2010, according to the survey published today by the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply and IHS Markit.

And UK construction activity fell last month at the sharpest rate since April 2009, in the depths of the 2008/09 recession triggered by the global financial crisis, the survey reveals.

CIPS director Duncan Brock said: "As measures to contain the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic were put in place across the UK, construction sites closed and builders lost their jobs on a frightening scale as overall activity fell to an extent not seen since April 2009.”

He added: “New orders were reduced to a trickle as the scale of the disease dawned on clients and lockdown severely hindered any further progress.

"With no upturn in sight, and with the fastest level of lay-offs since September 2010, the sector is stuck in quicksand and sinking further.”