New PM must work to improve flatlining construction

It's been quite the week for statistics buffs. The ONS has been releasing figures left, right and centre. And while there was some good news for GDP and the housing market, it's the construction figures (found here if you'd like them) that's got many people in a spin.

The reason for this is that construction output growth was flat (a nice simple 0.0%) in the three-months to May 2019. This was largely due to a fall in repairs and maintenance, offset by an increase in new work primarily for private commercial properties and public new housing.

The Federation of Master Builders (FMB) – as you'd expect – has something to say about this. In a statement on their website, Sarah McMonagle, Director of Communications at the FMB, said: ‘Alarm bells will be ringing in the ears of the two candidates vying to be Prime Minister, with these latest stats showing that the construction sector is at a standstill.

‘Whoever wins the race for PM, I want to see that person take decisive action in their first days in office by intervening to stimulate our waning sector, which is so vital to the health of the wider economy.’

Will either Boris Johnson or Jeremy Hunt take heed? They seem fairly busy at the moment. Moreover, they didn't dedicate a second of their time in a recent TV debate to social housing, as noted by Keith Ward, head of social housing with RSM, in this article by 24 Housing.

What could our next PM be thinking? Our new blogger Colin Wiles may have some answers in his latest opinion piece, available exclusively to HQN members. If you aren't a member and want to have a gander, please get in touch.