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January construction output 8% down on 2012

Estimates by the Office of National Statistics have found construction output in January 6.3 per cent down on December and  7.9 per cent lower than in the same month a year earlier.

According to the AJ’s sister publication Construction News, January also saw a 7.9 per cent decline in new work.

In the three months from November to January 2013, new work was 12.7 per cent lower than during the same period the year before, and overall output was down 10.2 per cent.

This was driven by declines in public work - excluding housing and infrastructure - and private commercial work, which decreased 23.5 per cent and 14.5 per cent respectively.

There was also a 5.3 per cent decrease in R&M work, with a 12.3 per cent contraction in private housing R&M.

UK managing director of Turner & Townsend Steve McGuckin said: ‘Sadly the momentum of the last quarter of 2012 has not been maintained, and the construction sector risks being recast as the fall guy of the British economy.

‘Across all construction sectors, output is down once again, with the fall in infrastructure work particularly worrying. The government’s hopes of the private sector pumping desperately needed money into infrastructure and helping the economy build its way to recovery look further away by the day.

‘Q4’s brief uptick in total construction output is starting to look like a blip, possibly boosted by projects put on hold during the Olympics and restarted at the end of the year. Shorn of that temporary boost, January’s figures look much less encouraging.

“But for all that, sentiment is improving. We’ve seen brisk levels of activity at the very front end of the industry, particularly in Scotland and Ireland.”

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