Construction in for 'bleak' year

The construction industry faces a "bleak" future after output declined in the first six months of the year, with a further fall forecast in the second half, according to figures published today.

The latest Construction Trade Survey shows that building and civil contractors have suffered a fall in output so far in 2010, adding that all sectors of the industry were reporting poor sales. This follows a tough year in 2009, with the sharpest fall in 35 years. The survey showed half of contractors saw workloads fall in education and health in the three months to June. At the same time, 57 per cent of contractors reported falling orders in the industrial sector. Just over half said that tender prices had gone down during the period, adding that margins had also dropped.

"With public sector cuts looming, the outlook for the industry over the coming months is bleak," the Construction Products Association said.

Stephen Ratcliffe, director of the UK Contractors Group, said the recent postponement of the Building Schools for the Future programme has added to the lack of confidence about public sector work.

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