Page last updated at 20:20 GMT, Tuesday, 8 July 2008 21:20 UK

Highland housebuilder to axe jobs

The Inverness-based housebuilder Tulloch Homes has announced plans to cut 40 jobs across its Scottish operations.

Tulloch has already paid off 18 staff this year to cut costs and said the latest job losses were due to the downturn in the housing market.

It is expected that 29 of the 40 posts will be shed in the Highlands, amongst salaried and weekly paid staff.

UK building firms have announced more than 2,000 redundancies this week.

UK housebuilder Persimmon said it had cut about 2,000 jobs since the start of the year, including 1,100 office jobs and 900 site-based jobs.

Last week, Taylor Wimpey shares more than halved in value after the firm announced 900 job cuts and Barratt is also shedding up to 1,000 jobs as a result of the troubled UK property market.

Trim overheads

In April, the Bank of Scotland acquired a 40% stake in Tulloch, in a deal worth 27.5m.

The bank's Corporate Joint Ventures business made the investment amid expectations that the Scottish housing market would outperform the UK national average.

A survey by the Nationwide earlier this month found that the housing market north of the border had been more resilient than elsewhere in the UK.

Although prices in the three months to June had fallen in Scotland by 1.8% compared with the previous quarter, it was the only area in the UK to see an annual growth, up 0.6%.

Twelve of the 13 other areas of the UK which were surveyed by the Nationwide witnessed year-on-year drops in house prices during the three months from April.

A spokesman for Tulloch said it had to take account of the national picture and take steps to further trim overheads.

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