New construction output figures published by the ONS today show a 2.9% fall in December, the first decline in monthly growth since April 2020.

Clive Docwra, Managing Director of construction consultancy and design agency  McBains, said:

“Following a period of successive months of growth where output had been gradually picking up, today’s figures are hugely concerning. Output was 3.5% below pre-coronavirus levels in December compared to November.

“The reason for the recovery over the previous months was due in no small part to a strongly performing housing sector.  But the imminent end of the stamp duty holiday could see a reverse, especially when today’s figures show that private new housing work already fell by 3% in December.

“New commercial work contracts remain at low levels, with today’s figures showing a 6% fall in private commercial work.  This is in part due to the office sector deciding on what changes to make to its real estate as a result of the pandemic and the impact on working patterns.

“All this uncertainty means that continued government public spending commitments are necessary to support an industry that is still feeling its way back after the impact of Covid-19.”