New figures released by the Office for National Statistics today show that the UK’s construction sector grew 1.2% – or £133 million – in April 2014. The yearly figures were equally positive, showing growth of 4.6% since April 2013. Over the last year the majority of the increase has been in the form of new work (housing construction and major infrastructure projects) – this area grew 4.9% while repair and maintenance grew 4.2%.
There were noticeable drops in some areas of constructions work though. New public housing orders fell 45.7% in Q1 2014 compared to Q4 2013, and infrastructure projects fell 16.5%. Meanwhile new private housing projects rose modestly, by 2.8%.
Notably, the drop in public housing projects was the largest quarter-on-quarter fall since records began in 1964. Despite this precipitous drop the Chancellor talked up the UK’s house building efforts in the annual Mansion House speech last night, saying:
“We need to see a lot more homes being built in Britain. The growing demand for housing has to be met by growing supply.
“The alternative, as in any market, is that prices will rise so that homes become unaffordable to many of our citizens and take up ever more of their incomes.
“We’ve already taken big steps to deliver those new homes. We’ve got the biggest programme of new social housing in a generation; we’re regenerating the worst of our housing estates; and we’ve got the first garden city for almost a century underway in Ebbsfleet.
“Now we need to do more. Much more.”
Image by U.S. Navy