Britain’s construction industry shrank 2.2% in the third quarter of 2015 compared with the previous three months after the rate of private and public housebuilding declined.

Compared with August, total output in September was down 0.2% - the third successive monthly fall.

However, this is an improvement on August when total output dropped 3.4% when compared with July.

Samuel Tombs, chief UK economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics – a firm that provides economic intelligence to financial market professionals – commented: “Skilled labour shortages and the squeeze on public sector investment indicate that the construction sector’s recovery will struggle to build much momentum over the coming quarters.”  

Government data shows new homes under construction rose 19% in 2014-15, but experts say this pace will need to be maintained to make any sort of impact on Britain’s housing shortage.

Mark Robinson, chief executive of built environment specialist Scape Group called on the government to use the Autumn Statement – due to be announced on 25 November – to support key building projects.

Chancellor George Osborne has already promised to introduce a programme that will convert outdated and empty prison buildings into housing.

In a speech at Imperial College London last week, he said Reading prison will be the first to be sold off.

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The Financial Times

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