FIGURES released today by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) show a more than 40% drop in construction output for April 2020 - the largest monthly drop since records began in January 2010.
The ONS says that this abrupt drop was driven by a 41.2% decrease in new work and a 38.1% decrease in repair and maintenance.
Clive Docwra, managing director of leading construction consulting and design agency McBains, said: “Today’s figures are further confirmation that the construction sector will face a hugely tough time to recover from the coronavirus pandemic.
“Particular concerns are private new housing work seeing a third consecutive month of large decline, exacerbated by the COVID-19 lockdown on April and now at its lowest level for a decade – bad news for the industry but also for prospective homeowners given the housing shortage.
"The record fall in private commercial new work also reflects the pause button being pressed on major projects.
“Hopefully today’s figures will represent the nadir given they cover the full month of lockdown, but while many large construction firms are now resuming work, many will still weakened by reduced order pipelines over the next few months.
“Firms are also experiencing labour shortages, supply chains are still operating extremely slowly and cashflow is becoming an increasingly pressing issue as cash reserves dry up.
"The government needs to stimulate demand, for example through reducing VAT on repair and maintenance work.”
To read the statistics in full, click here.