Construction output falls in August

New figures have revealed the UK’s construction output decreased by 1.5% in August.

According to the latest statistics from the Office of National Statistics (ONS), all new work, and repair and maintenance fell by 1.4% and 1.5% respectively.

The largest contribution in the downwards trend came from infrastructure, which fell 5.1% in August compared to a 6.1% rise in July.

Compared to last year, infrastructure activity has fallen by 9.3%, the sixth consecutive month of year-on-year decreases.

Rod Domeney, the head of RSK Group’s Manchester office, said it is evident Brexit is “still having a degree of impact” due to the likelihood projects and investments are on hold because of uncertainty surrounding the UK’s decision to leave the European Union.

“What the industry is really looking for is a sign of the Government’s clear commitment to the Northern Powerhouse, on which there have been mixed messages recently,” he said.

“A commitment to projects like HS2 and HS3 would spark renewed investment in the region, having a real impact on the construction sector and the wider economy.”

Michael Thirkettle, Chief Executive of industry consultants McBains Cooper, added the real concerns lies with what a ‘hard brexit’ will do to the UK construction industry’s labour supply.

“Because of skills shortages in the UK, skilled EU trades are a vital source that will be cut off once we leave the EU,” he said.

“Demonising skilled migrant workers and imposing regressive immigration policies will demolish any hopes of meeting housebuilding targets and solving the housing crisis.  The Government should send a signal that migrants will be welcome in the industry, and add skilled construction workers to its Shortage Occupations List.”