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Construction work up £2.6bn in a year

The construction industry did £2.6 billion more work in the three months to November compared with the same period a year earlier, latest output from the Office for National Statistics has revealed.

But figures also showed the value of work carried out fell by 0.7 per cent between November and October.

Repairs output dropped by £733 million – 7.6 per cent – between the third quarters of 2009 and 2010 with the bulk of those falls in infrastructure maintenance rather than housing, which held steady.

New work rose by £3.35bn over the year, an increase of over 20 per cent.

There was a particularly strong rise in new social housing output, which grew by more than 50 per cent over the year to £1.1bn while private housing output rose by a quarter.

The upturn in social housing output could be explained by the Homes and Communities Agency pouring money into its Kickstart programme, worth 2009/10 £572m, to restart work on mothballed sites. It also budgeted £3.2bn for its main social housebuilding programme in 2009/10. But cuts to its funding from 2010/11 mean similar growth in social housing new build is highly unlikely in the coming year.

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