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Maintenance work to support growth of 3pc

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REPAIR, maintenance and improvement work will underpin growth of 3 per cent in the construction industry next year, according to a two- year forecast from the Construction Products Association.

It predicts 2.5 per cent growth this year, but the rate will rise next year as confidence increases among construction product suppliers.

But the association has warned that its forecast depends on the government meeting its spending pledges.

Spokesman Allan Wilen said: 'With the public sector as the ultimate client for one third of all construction work, it is vital that the government delivers its planned investment.

'Any delay would damage growth significantly.'

The forecast also predicts a modest rise in new housing, but it says that new social housing is at its lowest level since 1945.

In the civils sector, rail investment is set to accelerate with phase one of the Channel Tunnel Rail Link and an increase in Railtrack investment.