Earnings for self-employed electricians decreased by nearly 10 per cent last month as coronavirus hit the construction industry.

Weekly pay averaged at £1,086 in March, down from £1,205 in February, according to the latest figures from Hudson Contract.

The Government imposed a wide-ranging social and economic lockdown on March 23 but said the construction sector can continue to work under new site operating procedures developed by the Construction Leadership Council.

Ian Anfield, managing director of Hudson Contract, said: “Our thoughts first and foremost are with those electricians and families whose health and finances have been affected by this terrible virus.

“We are closely monitoring the impact of coronavirus on the wider industry through our bellwether pay trends survey and are sharing our insights with the Bank of England so policymakers are best placed to respond to the rapidly changing situation.

“The latest survey from purchasing managers shows the steepest fall in construction output since the fallout from the global financial crisis in 2009 although housebuilding dropped at a comparatively modest rate.

“However, we know from speaking to clients and freelancers that most housebuilding sites are closed. Essential infrastructure and utility repair work are continuing but planned upgrades are stuttering.

“Work on government and privately funded projects stopped while the main contractors and our clients took stock and worked on safe working methods. They are now ready and opening up again testing whether work can be done safely.

“We are functioning as near normal as can be and are focused on supporting our clients as they build the housing and infrastructure that Britain will need to recover from this period of crisis.”

Hudson Contract delivers the most accurate indication of subcontractor pay trends across the construction industry, using payroll data from 2,200 construction SMEs to publish the average pay for a spectrum of 17 different trades split across ten regions in England and Wales.