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London is the sole region to grow in the recession, report finds

London is the only region where the construction industry grew during the downturn, a new report from the Chartered Institute of Building has said.

The report, “The Real Face of Construction”, said construction output in the capital grew more than 20 per cent in cash terms between 2007 and 2013 and made up more than 20 per cent of the British construction industry by the end of the period. London was the only region to grow in that time once inflation was taken into account.

The report also highlights an alternative way of measuring the size of the industry, developed by Dr Stephen Gruneberg at Westminster, which would put it at 15.3 per cent of the economy – £250bn – rather than the 6.3 per cent gross value added attributed to it in official statistics.

The official construction GVA figure just counts work done on site and does not include other inputs into construction, such as the work of consultancy and design, real estate activities plant rental and manufacture of building material, which are included in the figures for other industries in order to avoid double counting.

The report accompanies a guide for MPs and prospective parliamentary candidates on the importance of construction to the economy.

Chris Blythe, chief executive of the CIOB, said: “Construction is often simplistically viewed in terms of employment statistics and visible work on building sites, but this overlooks the increasingly high-tech nature of an industry that is leading on innovation and contributing directly to national productivity.

“The quality of our buildings has a lasting impact on the wellbeing of individuals and communities across all regions and sectors.

“Much political and media attention focuses on house building and, while this is an extremely important issue, it actually accounts for a minority of total UK construction output. We would like to see discussions become integrated into a much wider agenda. The decisions made today will be felt for decades and generations.”

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