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New orders fall to lowest level in 30 years

2 Sep 11 The volume of new orders in construction has apparently fallen to its lowest level since the third quarter of 1980 - when Abba was at number one with Super Trouper.

That is according to the latest data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), which is currently being investigated by the UK Statistics Authority for its mistakes in measuring and reporting construction output.

Assuming the latest ONS report is correct, new orders in the second quarter of 2011 fell by 16.3% in comparison with the first quarter, and by 23.2% compared with the second quarter of 2010

Private industrial was the only sector which showed a positive growth from the first to the second quarter (6.6%)

Commenting on the figures, Construction Products Association chief executive Michael Ankers said: “This is an alarming set of figures at a time when the economy is already slowing and the construction industry is seen as having a major part to play in rebalancing the economy. Whilst the fall in public sector orders of 30% is no surprise given the cut back in public sector spending, it is particularly alarming to see the fall in new orders for private sector construction – down 8% on the first quarter of the year and 10% down on the same quarter last year.

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“Within this, new orders for private housing have fallen again (down 8% on the first three months of the year) and orders for commercial work are now back to where they were in the middle of 2009.

“Government has to take these figures very seriously and, whilst maintaining its commitment to addressing the country’s long term budget deficit, it needs to find ways to bring forward some of the key infrastructure projects that will help stimulate economic growth. It also needs to continue to keep pressure on the banks to make finance available for house purchase and other investments. Finally, it should ensure its planning reforms are not blown off course by those whose agenda is not focused on ensuring a sustainable economic recovery in this country.”

 Other number ones when things were last this bad include St Winifred's School Choir with There's No One Quite Like Grandma.

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