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Construction sector reports near 15-year low for production

New data published as part of the latest Construction Trade Survey has delivered a chilling indictment of the current state of the UK building sector, with output levels close to a 25-year low in the first quarter of the year.

According to the report's findings, 39 and 38 per cent of heavy and light side manufacturers revealed an annual reduction in workloads, while ten per cent of all companies reported a fall in commercial volumes.

Meanwhile, 43 per cent of contractors highlighted an increase in costs from the same period in 2012 during the first three months of 2013, while 27 per cent of respondents revealed a downturn in profit margins.

Noble Francis, economics director at the Construction Products Association, said:  "The weather in January and March undoubtedly had a negative effect on activity in construction and, as a result, we would expect to see a degree of catch-up in the second quarter.

"However, prospects for this year are still poor with a subdued private sector and continuing austerity affecting most sectors of the industry."

Furthermore, figures published by the Office for National Statistics backed up these results, revealing construction output in the UK is now at a level not seen since the fourth quarter of 1998.

It placed construction output down by 6.5 per cent annually and by 2.4 per cent from the preceding quarter.

The news follows the recent publication of rolling-quarter figures as part of the Glenigan Index, which revealed a 42 per cent annual decline in new project starts across the UK in February to April this year.

Overall, new starts fell by 42 per cent in comparison to the same time in 2012, although a ray of sunshine for the industry was the news that education sector developments across the UK were up by 15 per cent.  

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