Builder's warning

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HENRY BOOT, the builder, yesterday warned the Government that reduced infrastructure spending or other measures that hurt the construction business might do irreparable damage, writes Rupert Bruce.

'Competition is still fierce for the continuing low volume of contracting work available and there are no signs of improvement,' said Jamie Boot, group managing director.

'Indeed, the economic climate within which we work is still . . . so uncertain that, in our view, the Government would be ill-advised to reduce capital expenditure still further.'

However, Henry Boot lifted pre-tax profits for the half-year to June to pounds 2.35m from pounds 2.21m as interest rates fell. This was largely due to increased sales to first-time buyers.

Earnings per share are up to 6.3p from 5.7p and the interim dividend rises 0.1p to 1.7p. Turnover was pounds 64.6m ( pounds 51.1m). The shares fell 1p to 269p.