Latest ONS construction figures released today revealed that output fell 6% in May compared to a year earlier while the outlook for the rest of 2012 appears bleak.
Noble Francis, Economics Director at the Construction Products Association said: “Although the coalition has consistently made pronouncements of boosting UK construction and the economy, there is little sign of this in reality.
“Public sector housing output in May was 23% lower than a year earlier and in the three months to May was also 23% lower than a year earlier.
“Public non-housing output, which primarily covers education and health construction, during May was 20% lower than a year earlier and in the three months to May was 22% lower than a year earlier.
“Private commercial, the largest construction sector, continues to be the key bright area of construction.
“Commercial output in May was 2% higher than a year ago and in the first five months of the year was 1.3% higher than one year ago.
“However, this is not enough to offset the public sector cuts and, overall, in the first five months of the year, construction output was 5.4% lower than a year earlier so prospects for the year as a whole are bleak.
“If government is serious about recovery in UK construction and the economy, it clearly needs to focus on getting a replacement for PFI sorted out immediately, getting work on the ground now by focusing on repair and maintenance and ensuring that the Green Deal becomes a success by giving householders greater incentives to invest in energy-saving improvements.”
Steve McGuckin, managing director of the construction and programme management consultancy, Turner & Townsend, said: “What began as a dip has become a dive.
“With public sector construction down around 22% on this time last year, the impact of the government’s austerity cuts is clear.
“It’s time for George Osborne to look at stimulating demand in this crucial sector.”