Scape boss Mark Robinson says government is heading down "path of self-destruction"

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Construction output grew over the past three months but fell month-on-month in April as ongoing Brexit uncertainty continued to plague the sector.

According to the latest ONS construction figures output grew by 4% in the three months to April, compared to the previous three month period.

Year-on-year April saw a near-5% rise in private housing output, worth £3bn, while public housing activity rose by nearly a quarter (24%) over the same period, although the value of the work involved was only £600m.

Mark Robinson, Scape chief executive, said the industry was continuing to rely on private housing to prop up output.

And while it was promising that all new work had increased by £153m in the three months to April, activity had begun to falter again in the final month.

Robinson said: “In order to avoid the slump turning into a prolonged trend, the industry needs direction but it’s looking unlikely that the government will be getting its act together anytime soon.”

He said "farcical political party infighting" was continuing to derail not only Brexit but also the rest of the political agenda.

“Over the past couple of days, it has become very apparent that the Conservative Party is descending down a path of self-destruction and [is] at risk of taking the country down with them.

“In order for the country to move forward, we do need clarity not only on big-ticket infrastructure decisions but also on the future of local authority funding so our towns can continue running efficiently and effectively. Internal affairs should not interfere with the upcoming spending review,” Robinson added.

Output was 0.4% lower in April compared to March, with private and public new housing growing by 2% and 2.4% respectively.

A snapshot of construction output, April 2019
  Volume (£bn)April – MarchApril y-o-yFeb – April y-o-y
  Total all work 13.6 -0.4% 2.4% 2.9%
  Total all new work 8.96 0.6% 3.3% 2.8%
  Total repair/maintenance 4.64 -2.1% 0.7% 3.2%
New housing
  Public 0.6 2.4% 24.3% 21.1%
  Private 3.0 2% 4.7% 2.6%
Other new work
  Infrastructure 1.82 -0.6% 10.2% 12.9%
  Public housing 0.6 5.2% -1.8% -0.2%
  Private housing 1.65 -7.4% -4.9% 0.1%

Source: ONS