Orders for new construction work fell dramatically in the second quarter of the year and to a level not seen since 1980, according to the latest set of figures from the office of national Statistics.
Orders fell by over 16% compared with an already low figure in quarter one and are over 23% down on the same quarter in 2010.
The largest falls in new orders were in the public housing – down 31%, infrastructure – down 26%, and public non-housing – down 30% on the first quarter of the year and showing the initial impact of the public sector spending cuts announced in the Comprehensive Spending Review.
Construction Products Association chief executive Michael Ankers said: “This is an alarming set of figures at a time when the economy is already slowing and the construction industry is seen as having a major part to play in rebalancing the economy.
“Whilst the fall in public sector orders of 30% is no surprise given the cut back in public sector spending, it is particularly alarming to see the fall in new orders for private sector construction – down 8% on the first quarter of the year and 10% down on the same quarter last year.
“Government has to take these figures very seriously and whilst maintaining its commitment to addressing the country’s long term budget deficit it needs to find ways to bring forward some of the key infrastructure projects that will help stimulate economic growth. It also needs to continue to keep pressure on the banks to make finance available for house purchase and other investments.
“Finally, it should ensure its planning reforms are not blown off course by those whose agenda is not focused on ensuring a sustainable economic recovery in this country.”