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Fall in construction activity reveals weakness in the economy: FMB

Posted: Monday, April 15th, 2024

The 1.9% fall in construction output, as reported in the Office for National Statistics (ONS) data for February, is a warning that the construction sector is still battling in a difficult economic climate, says the Federation of Master Builders (FMB).

Brian Berry, chief executive of the FMB is concerned to see another decline in construction output of 1.9%, which is compounded by the overall decrease of 1.0% in the three months to February.

While growth had been seen in January, the figures underline the challenging winter period that UK construction has faced.

He said: It is particularly concerning that this decline was in part led by a drop in repair and maintenance work, a sector that had been doing well last year, comparatively to other sub-sectors.”

Survey responses from the ONS research suggest that it was down to poor weather conditions, with heavy rainfall hindering many projects, and it will have to see if warmer spring weather brings a welcome boost for builders.

Berry added: "Despite overall Gross Domestic Product (GDP) being up slightly this month for the wider UK economy, the decline in construction output is holding back substantial improvement.

“As we head into the drier months, the Government needs to take this opportunity to help boost that construction activity, which could take the form of helping to step up house building and measures to help owner-owners make their homes more energy efficient. These two measures would help drive economic growth.”

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