“The latest data reflects a construction industry that is still suffering post Brexit, as output in August continued to fall by 1.5 per cent on July. Given the current disagreements on Brexit at the highest levels of government and signs of further uncertainty to come, it is little comfort that construction flat-lined on the year, with an increase of just 0.2 per cent.
“Output for new infrastructure projects continues to drag the industry down, with a huge annual decrease of 9.3 per cent, as the brakes continue to be placed on big projects amidst fiscal uncertainty. As August marks the sixth consecutive month of year-on-year decrease, it is clear that Brexit anxiety continues to dominate the sector, and action must be taken to lift this. Now more than ever, Britain needs an infrastructure boost.
“However with a newly reaffirmed promise from Theresa May that the ‘whole machinery of government’ is behind the Northern Powerhouse in order to get all of the UK’s cities firing again, we should hopefully start to see progress in the coming months. In addition to the clarity we now have on triggering Article 50, the industry desperately needs reassurance in order to start giving the green light to new projects, and reviving those that have been halted. However, it is not enough to wait for the clouds of uncertainty to clear – the government should take additional action now to help boost confidence. Philip Hammond should take advantage of cheap borrowing rates in November’s Autumn Statement and put more infrastructure projects into the pipeline.”