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New figures show largest fall in construction output on record

Commenting on the new construction output figures published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), which revealed a 40% drop in construction output for April – the largest monthly fall since monthly records began – Clive Docwra, managing director at construction consulting and design agency McBains, said the figures are further confirmation that the construction sector will face a tough time recovering from the coronavirus.

Docwra added: “Particular concerns are private new housing work seeing a third consecutive month of large decline, exacerbated by the Covid-19 lockdown on April and now at its lowest level for a decade – bad news for the industry but also for prospective homeowners given the housing shortage. The record fall in private commercial new work also reflects the pause button being pressed on major projects.

“Firms are also experiencing labour shortages, supply chains are still operating extremely slowly and cashflow is becoming an increasingly pressing issue as cash reserves dry up.  The government needs to stimulate demand, for example through reducing VAT on repair and maintenance work.”

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