Build-to-rent and student accommodation specialist blames “challenging economic environment” following Liz Truss’ mini-budget for imminent job losses

Watkin Jones has become the first major firm to start making job losses in the wake of the market turmoil caused by the mini-budget in September.

The company, which is listed on the Stock Exchange and specialises in built-to-rent and student housing, confirmed to Housing Today’s sister publication Building that it had begun a consultation with staff over the redundancies which are expected to see 10% of employees, which is around 40 people, leave the company in the next few weeks.

In a statement, it said: “Against the current challenging economic environment, we have undertaken a detailed review of our company and made the very difficult decision to propose a reduction in the number of roles in some of our teams.


Source: Shutterstock

Watkin Jones specialises in building BTR homes and student housing

“This was not a decision made lightly but we believe it is necessary to operate as effectively and efficiently as possible in support of our long-term success. We are now entering a consultation period and will do everything we can to support our people.”

Last month, the firm issued a profit warning saying its full year operating profit would be around 10% lower than expected because of the “volatility” hitting sales in the wake of former prime minister Liz Truss’s disastrous mini-budget.

>>See also: What are housebuilding’s prospects in the wake of the mini-budget?

>>See also: Crest Nicholson boss makes planning reform plea ahead of Autumn Statement

It said purchasers of its schemes had been hit with increased funding costs which meant two forward sales expected to close in September would now be completed in the next financial year.

The news emerged as chancellor Jeremy Hunt, brought in by Truss to replace predecessor Kwasi Kwarteng, sacked in the wake of the mini-budget debacle, prepares to deliver an autumn statement later this morning, having junked most of Kwarteng’s September announcements.

In its half year results published in May, Watkins Jones reported a pre-tax loss of £16.6m for the six months to the end of March after setting aside £28m for building safety remediation work.