The Construction Products Association has said it “welcomes” the Deputy Prime Minister’s admission that the Government should have invested more in infrastructure.
In an interview for this week’s The House magazine, Nick Clegg said:
“There was this reduction in capital spending when we came into the Coalition Government. I think we comforted ourselves at the time that it was actually no more than what (former Chancellor) Alistair Darling spelt out anyway, so in a sense everybody was predicting a significant drop off in capital investment.
“But I think we've all realised that you actually need, in order to foster a recovery, to try and mobilise as much public and private capital into infrastructure as possible.”
Noble Francis, Economics Director at the Construction Products Association, said:
“We welcome the Deputy Prime Minister’s acknowledgement today for more investment in infrastructure, as this is something the industry has been calling for, for two years.
“However, he must turn this sentiment into real activity if we are not to experience further decline across the industry and the wider economy for many months to come.”
GDP figures published today by the ONS show that the UK economy has shrunk by 0.3% in the final quarter of 2012 compared to the previous quarter and was flat compared to the same quarter a year ago.
The main contributors to this fall were the manufacturing and mining and quarrying sectors, which fell 1.5% and 10.2% respectively.
Construction overall fared slightly better, growing by 0.3% quarter on quarter, however compared to the same period a year ago construction was 11% down.
Mr Francis said the figures show that the final quarter of last year was extremely difficult for the construction industry.
“Recent figures for new orders, which are a forward looking indicator for the industry, were 7% lower than a year ago and as a consequence the coming year is likely to see further contraction from what is already a very difficult position,” he said.