New government figures reveal that construction output during October 2015 was higher than both the previous month, and the same month of last year.This is according to data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), which shows that productivity in the UK's building industry increase by 0.2 per cent between September and October, while there was growth of one per cent between October 2014 and the same month in 2015.These figures indicate that the construction industry is continuing to get back on track following financial struggles in recent years, although skills shortages remain a problem for many firms.Despite this, initiatives such as the government's Help to Buy scheme and other efforts to provide the country with a greater level of affordable housing have led to increased output in the construction sector in recent months.Dr Noble Francis, economics director at the Construction Products Association (CPA), commented: "After the slowdown in construction activity in Q3, it was good to see an acceleration in activity for the construction industry on both a monthly and an annual basis."However, the figures also highlight contrasting fortunes for private and public house building."The ONS figures show there was a 2.3 per cent increase in private housing output between September and October this year, with October's figure also 4.6 per cent higher than in the same month of 2014.In contrast, public housing output experienced a three per cent decline from September to October, while there was a significant 25.9 per cent drop between October 2014 and October 2015.Dr Francis explained that this is primarily due to public sector funding cuts to housing associations, which led to a 26.7 per cent decrease in new orders over the 12-month period. The extension of the Right to Buy scheme has also adversely affected construction output in this area in recent months.As 2016 approaches, it will be interesting to see whether or not the rise in private sector output continues as productivity in the public sector declines or if the new year will signal an air of change for the industry.
ONS: UK construction output increased in October
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