DoE figures highlight building slump

NIC CICUTTI

Further evidence of the slump in the UK building industry came yesterday as the Department of Environment released figures showing new construction orders fell 11 per cent in the past three months.

Total new orders compared with the first three months of this year were down 14 per cent on the same period in 1994.

DoE officials claimed yesterday that the past three months' decline had come because a handful of very large contracts which boosted the first- quarter figures were not repeated.

Large infrastructure and private sector contracts were among orders that fell off during this period, the department said.

But the housing market's collapse also had an effect. New orders in the private housing sector were 12 per cent lower than in the previous quarter. They also slumped 20 per cent lower than in the corresponding period a year ago.

The decline was even sharper in infrastructure, such as roads, hospitals and schools - 26 per cent lower compared with the previous quarter and 23 per cent lower than in the corresponding three months in 1994.

Public non-housing orders (excluding infrastructure) in the latest quarter were two per cent higher than in the previous quarter and 1 per cent higher than in the corresponding period a year ago.

Private industrial orders in the latest quarter were 30 per cent lower than in the previous quarter and 25 per cent lower compared with the same period a year ago.

Private commercial orders in the latest quarter were 2 per cent lower compared with the previous quarter and 7 per cent lower compared with the same period in 1994.

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