Welsh construction workers warn of job loses as cost of living crisis impacts fuel and materials

The Government said it would remove the ability to use red diesel from most sectors by 2022, which is a cheaper alternative. Credit: ITV Wales

Builders in North Wales are calling on the Chancellor to delay changes to red diesel as they become 'increasingly worried' about the cost of living crisis.

The Government announced in 2020 that it would remove the ability to use red diesel and rebated biodiesel from most sectors from April 2022 in a bid to meet its climate change and air quality targets.

Red diesel is ultra-low sulfur fuel with a red dye in it to denote that it is for off-road or untaxed purposes only and is a cheaper alternative for most construction companies.

On Wednesday 23 March, Rishi Sunak will deliver his spring statement to the House of Commons where he will give an update on UK Government spending plans.

But as the cost of living crisis worsens there's pressure from the Welsh Government on Mr Sunak to act to help.

Workers from G&E, a civil engineering company in Anglesey have said that the cost of running their digger has doubled. It cost on average £5.60 an hour to run a digger on red diesel but it now costs more than £10.

Construction workers from G&E in Anglesey say they are worried about job losses.

Wyn Williams from G&E said he wants the government to 'hang fire' on rebated fuel changes.

He said: "At this moment in time, we are actually paying today what we would have been paying for white diesel 12 months ago."

"And whether a lot of companies of our size will survive this remains to be seen, to be honest."

Construction is the fifth-largest industry in Wales which employs over 100,000 people.

'They may not actually be there in a few months'

There are also warnings of job losses as well as companies being at risk of collapse due to rising costs and fixed contracts when prices were much lower. 

Richard Wynne from Wynne Construction based in North Wales said: "With the extensive increases on material prices and protracted periods in order to get a building onto site these additional costs are significantly worrying for a lot of suppliers and subcontractors.

"They may not actually be there in a few months because of these excessively increased costs."

Wyn says G&E is a small groundwork company that employs around 20 people.

He said: "Obviously, that's 20 people's future, they have their cost of living rising as well so they're looking to us for more money for their household bills and we've got no margins or any movement at all, but we try to do the best we can."

Car sharing is becoming increasingly popular in Rhyl as petrol prices increase.

Drivers are also being impacted by the pressure of growing fuel prices. Many people have taken to car sharing with some saying the price of petrol is 'horrendous'.

Stuart Williams who is a commuter that uses the A55 in North Wales says he car shares with his colleague Jordan Jones to help out with the monthly bills. They both work together in a builder merchant in Chester.

Jordan lives in Llandudno which is a 40-mile commute to his workplace. He says he's seen petrol prices rise rapidly.

"It's gone up 20 odd percent, it's quite a big commute so I meet people from Rhyl [to commute together], and it makes sense," He said.

"We could do with some more dedicated parking spaces in the area for car sharers, it helps the environment as well."

How else can you save money on petrol?

  • The RAC recommends keeping your car well maintained and serviced

  • Use the highest gear possible within the speed limit.

  • As the weather warms up only put the heating on if you really need to.