ONS: UK construction output slows

Wednesday 22 March 2017

UK construction activity dropped by 0.4 per cent in February, which was worse than the 0.2 per cent forecast, findings show. 

Research from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed the drop from the 1.8 per cent gain recorded in January, though construction increased by two per cent yearly. This was a huge rise from the 0.3 per cent originally expected, but slower than the revised total of 2.6 per cent. 

As a result of substantial revisions to previous estimates, the ONS’ latest forecast suggests output will rise by 2.4 per cent year-over-year in 2016 instead of 1.5 per cent. 

Private housing construction contributed the most to the industry by expanding 13.1 per cent, whereas private commercial work jumped 8.6 per cent. Private industrial work fell by 9.5 percent and infrastructure work dropped by 9.2 per cent.

Michael Thirkettle, chief executive of leading construction and property consultancy McBains Cooper, said: “Building new homes to meet the government’s targets for solving the housing crisis are already significantly behind and the recent Housing White Paper really didn’t do enough to make planning processes simpler or free up more land.”

Mr Thirkettle explained that worries over Brexit will remain over the short to medium term. 

He explained that a “significant number” of the 12 per cent of UK construction workers who come from EU countries could be lost as a result of the uncertainty caused by Brexit. 

Mr Thirkette also noted that the Housing White Paper did not do enough to simplify planning processes or make more land available, raising further questions for the construction industry. 

He went on to say that the government must need to do more to dissuade UK workers from leaving the industry and assure Europeans that they do not need to “throw the towel in” and return to the continent. 

As UK businesses battle against the country’s productivity crisis, now could be a perfect time for freelancers to find excellent freelance opportunities. 

Although calculating take-home pay can seem like a hassle, umbrella companies can make the job easier by deducting fees such as national insurance and tax. 

With the construction industry in need of experienced specialists, builders working on a contractual basis could be able to earn more money and develop their career. 

By Victoria McDonnell

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