Construction growth slows amid general election jitters

Confidence for year ahead is at a nine-year high but PMI survey suggests companies are delaying spending decisions until after 7 May poll.

Housebuilders, commercial builders, and civil engineers all reported slowing output growth last month, with the rise in new orders also easing compared with February.

“All three main categories of construction activity saw a growth slowdown in March, in part reflecting softer new business gains as some clients delayed spending decisions ahead of the general election.”

Despite the dip in growth, confidence among UK builders about the 12 months ahead jumped to a nine-year high in March, boosted by an improving economic backdrop and strong order books.
David Noble, chief executive at CIPS, said the delay in spending plans triggered by the election was just a blip.

“The main takeaway from this month must be the highest levels of confidence seen in the construction sector for almost a decade. Though there may be some low-level obstacles still to come, the sector gets the green light as there is evidently belief that the future for the construction sector is a sustainable one,” he said.

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