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Construction faces uncertain future despite record growth

Although today’s ONS figures for construction output in the second quarter of the year show a sharp increase of nearly 9% over the first quarter, the Construction Products Association warns the industry is still in a very precarious position and the figures do not indicate a dramatic recovery in the industry’s fortunes.
'Today's figures show the strongest quarterly increase in output in nearly 50 years but they flatter to deceive,' warns the association's chief executive, Michael Ankers.

'Construction was particularly badly hit by the poor weather in the early part of the year and so the second quarter was always going to see a sharp pick up.

'In addition, a number of public sector projects were started in the run up to the Election and this undoubtedly helped boost output in the spring.

'Looking further ahead we are concerned about the prospects for continued output growth in the rest of the year and beyond.

'The latest Construction Products Association trade survey, released earlier this week, shows that on balance product manufacturers and suppliers anticipate a fall in sales in the rest of the year.

'With cuts in public spending on projects like the Building Schools for the Future already announced and further cuts inevitable after the Comprehensive Spending Review on October 20, the future remains very uncertain.

'Construction accounts for nearly 10% of the UK economy and employs more than two million people. It has a fundamental part to play in the economic recovery as it provides the essential transport and energy infrastructure, health facilities, homes, factories and offices the country needs.

'It is vital therefore that in delivering its future spending plans, the government ensures it focuses capital investment in the areas that will do most to stimulate this recovery,' he added.
13 August 2010

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