Construction figures show sharp fall in new homes
Public sector house building has fallen 22.9 per cent across Britain in the last year, according to the Office for National Statistics.
Construction output figures released on Friday (13 July) show a 6.3 per cent drop overall for May 2012 compared with May 2011, driven by sharp falls in public sector work.
The declines prompted fresh calls from the construction sector for more government support.
Steve McGuckin, managing director at consultancy Turner & Townsend, said: ‘With public sector construction down around 22 per cent on this time last year, the impact of the government’s austerity cuts is 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. It’s time for [chancellor] George Osborne to look at stimulating demand in this crucial sector.’
Michael Levack, chief executive of the Scottish Building Federation, said: ‘These UK-wide figures paint a truly depressing picture, with a big collapse in overall output and eye-watering declines in new housing and infrastructure work.’
The government is expected to announce a £9 billion investment in rail infrastructure later today, with some reports suggesting a boost for house building will follow later in the week.