UK construction output falls again

By Helen Wright13 July 2012

Construction output in the UK fell by 6.3% year-on-year in May, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) - continuing this year's downward trend.

ONS figures show that, for the three months from March to May this year, construction output decreased 7.4% year-on-year, while new work decreased 9.9% and repair and maintenance was down 2.4%.

Over the period, the volume of new public housing work was down 23% year-on-year, while new public non-housing (excluding infrastructure) work decreased 21.5%, and new infrastructure work was down 21%.

Just two sectors increases - new private commercial work rose 0.2% year-on-year for the three months between March and May, while non-housing repair and maintenance was up 0.5%.

Output dive

Steve McGuckin, managing director of the construction consultancy Turner & Townsend said, "What began as a dip has become a dive. What's not clear yet is whether the industry has reached a turning point."

He said the drop in public work demonstrated that the impact of the UK government's austerity cuts was clear.

"There have been some signs of life in the private sector, and many still hope that it will ride to the rescue of a construction industry that has been hit hard by the decline in public spending. But these figures clearly show that it hasn't happened yet," Mr McGuckin said.

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