UK construction faces ‘decade of pain’

The construction industry in the UK will not recover its pre-recession peak level of output until 2022, says a study by an industry lobby group.

The bleak outlook follows “one of the most difficult periods since World War II”, the Construction Skills Network report said.

The sector lost 60,000 jobs in 2012, while output fell 9%, in large part because of public spending cuts.

Construction employment is expected to continue to fall every year until 2016.

“Construction found itself at the heart of a perfect storm in 2012,” said Judy Lowe, deputy director of CITB-ConstructionSkills, the industry training body that put the report together.

The sector had been “hit hard by a combination of public sector spending cuts and a lack of investment in the private sector”, she added.

Public sector construction fell 20% last year, while infrastructure fell 15%, commercial construction 10% and private housing 5%.

The report claimed that Greater London would provide the only major bright spot over the coming five years, with most other parts of the country suffering continued contraction.

Activity in Wales would be boosted by the building of the Wylfra nuclear power plant, while the North East would enjoy a rebound from what has been a particularly nasty slump.

Employment in the sector is expected to pick up in the East of England and Greater London, but nowhere else.

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