Howarth Timber Engineering Ltd has offered voluntary redundancy to staff at its Bury St Edmunds site as the private housing market continues its downturn.

Figures from the National House-Building Council show that private housing starts fell by 56% year-on-year in May to 6,890, while the public sector remains fairly buoyant.

Howarth managing director Roger Smith said this had signalled a shift in the company’s business and the need to reallocate staff.

“We have successfully redeployed many of our staff to reflect this shift in our business,” said Mr Smith.

“At this time we have invited voluntary redundancies from some sectors of our workforce to address this change in our workload.”

For full coverage of the declining housing market’s impact on the timber firms, see the next edition of TTJ.