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Wed August 05 2020

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Virus costs UK construction more than £300m a day

7 May The UK construction industry is losing £301.5m a day during the coronavirus lockdown, according to a new study.

And the gross value added (GVA – total value of goods & services produced) has fallen from £462.1m per day from before the lockdown was announced on 23rd March to £160.6 m a day by the end of April – a decline of 65%. 

In Scotland, where all construction sites have been closed, GVA has fallen by 90%. In Scotland the sector had a daily GVA of £40m before the Covid-19 crisis and this is now down to £4m a day, according to UK Powerhouse study, which has been produced by law firm Irwin Mitchell and the Centre for Economics & Business Research (CEBR).

The real estate sector has shrunk, by £261.5 m a day, and from a GVA of £1097.6m per day  before lockdown to £836.1m – a decline of 24%.

 Despite the negatives above, the report does state that the UK has been in a relatively good position to face lockdown due a significant share of the economy being comprised of the financial and insurance services sector which is estimated to be experiencing a relatively low daily reduction in GVA of just 18%. The report says this sector can largely be operated remotely and thus people have been working from home, albeit with some loss in productivity.

The report notes that this sector has also to an extent shielded London’s economy because although the city region has the greatest absolute reduction in GVA per day, its relative fall of total economic output of 28% is the lowest in the UK.

Other sectors such as agricultural, forestry and fishing, along with the information and communication sector, have also remained strong with a relatively low daily GVA fall of 14% and 2% respectively.

Coronavirus lockdown impact in the UK by sector

  GVA per day pre-corona virus, £m Loss per day, £m Remaining, £m % lost
Agriculture, forestry and fishing 52.9 7.3 45.6 14%
Mining and quarrying 46.9 28.0 18.9 60%
Manufacturing 720.0 539.8 180.2 75%
Electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply 105.8 20.1 85.7 19%
Water supply, sewerage, waste management and remediation activities 94.0 0.0 94.0 0%
Construction 462.1 301.5 160.6 65%
Wholesale and retail trade; repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles 800.3 486.5 313.9 61%
Transport and storage 316.9 158.7 158.2 50%
Accommodation and food service activities 217.4 204.9 12.5 94%
Information and communication 583.2 12.6 570.6 2%
Financial and insurance activities 607.1 110.4 496.7 18%
Real estate activities 1097.6 261.5 836.1 24%
Professional, scientific and technical activities 630.4 149.8 480.6 24%
Administrative and support service activities 410.0 81.7 328.4 20%
Public administration and defence; compulsory social security 372.1 0.0 372.1 0%
Education 450.9 207.8 243.1 46%
Human health and social work activities 574.1 -14.3 588.4 -2%
Arts, entertainment and recreation 261.2 113.9 147.3 44%
Total 7,803.1 2,670.2 5,132.9 34%

Source: ONS, Labour Force Survey, BRES, CEBR analysis

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