May 10, 2013 11:33 am

UK construction output falls to lowest level in 15 years

Construction output in the UK shrank by 2.4 per cent in the first quarter of 2013, falling to its lowest level in almost 15 years.

A jump in output between February and March was not enough to stop the industry recording its worst performance since the final quarter of 1998.

The decline in output was a largely because of a sharp fall in new work, with only a slight rise in repair and maintenance work for private housing.

The Office for National Statistics said on Friday that anecdotal evidence suggested the bad weather and subdued demand weighed on the sector.

Construction output, which makes up between 6 and 7 per cent of GDP, is now 6.5 per cent lower than for the same quarter in 2012. Since the height of the building boom in early 2008, this indicator has fallen by almost a fifth.

The UK’s economy has contracted by 2.6 per cent over the same period.

The latest data showed that segments of the industry working for the public sector have suffered a particularly bad three months.

The amount of new housing work available declined by 4.1 per cent and the amount of infrastructure work by 7.5 per cent. Housing repair and maintenance work by public corporations declined by 3.2 per cent, against a 0.4 per cent rise in output for the private sector in this area.

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