Reaction to ONS construction industry output figures for August
July figure were revised upwards from a 1.0% drop to a rise of 0.5%. August’s figures, however, saw fall of 1.5%.
Decreases were seen in all new work and the repair and maintenances sectors of 1.4% and 1.5% respectively.
Infrastructure suffered the biggest downturn in output, which fell by 5.1%. In comparison, July’s saw a 6.1% rise in infrastructure.
Total new housing dropped by 1.3% in comparison with the previous month, while decreases were seen in both public and private new housing of 2.1% and 1.2% respectively.
Compared with the same period in 2015, there was an increase of 7.9% in total new housing – the ninth consecutive period of year-on-year growth. There was a rise of 9.4% in private new housing, which was offset slightly by a fall of 0.8% in public new housing.
Peter Vinden, Managing Director of The Vinden Partnership – a leading multi-disciplinary consultant company to the built environment said: “I warned against reading too much into July’s increase in output and said that monthly fluctuations should be expected. This appears to have been the case in August.
“The worst-case economic scenario predicted by some following Brexit has failed to materialise and the construction industry has proven extremely resilient so far.
“We have had the Chancellor’s announcement that the government will make housebuilding a top priority and I would hope that this would ease some of the uncertainty surrounding the industry.
“However, the Brexit uncertainty isn’t something that’s simply just going to go away. There appears to be a lot of posturing from both sides as to the kind of deal Britain will get once it triggers Article 50.
“The construction industry needs stability and will be relying on the government to provide it in the upcoming Autumn Statement.”