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The end of the beginning

Yet more gloomy signals, but we have to see the light at the end of the tunnel

Thus far, it’s hardly a happy new year. The British economy is in freefall, with commentators falling over themselves to predict ever-gloomier times ahead. The Construction Products Association got in there early, forecasting the steepest decline in output for 30 years. The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors published statistics showing that the end of 2008 was the worst time for residential transactions over the same 30-year period. Signs are not good from around the construction industry. Developers’ share prices continue to fall and digger giant JCB cut nearly 700 jobs this week.

It is now clear that the measures taken by government to free up the credit markets have not yet worked, and it seems likely that even if they were to, sentiment is so negative that there would be reticence in the development industry to begin again any time soon.

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