The fall in new UK construction orders for the first time since May 2020, as reported by S&P Global / CIPS UK Construction PMI, is a worry and a reflection of growing nervousness in the building industry about future workloads, says the Federation of Master Builders (FMB).
Commenting on the industry's outlook, FMB chief executive Brian Berry said: "It is encouraging that the recent data shows a steady but modest improvement in output in the construction sector. While there has been a modest level of growth, the data highlights that the next few months will continue to be hard on the industry, with expectations of a fall in volumes of new work and concerns around the longer-term UK economic outlook."
Berry continued: "The data is a key indicator of how the current economic climate is impacting the industry on a wider scale, which is why the FMB is calling on the Government to prioritise investment in energy efficiency improvements via a UK-wide national retrofit strategy, which would help create thousands of new jobs, boost regional economies, reduce energy bills, and help secure the UK's energy supply. As an immediate boost, the removal of VAT on repair, maintenance and improvement work would immediately save consumers money and incentivise them to carry out more work which will reinvest into the [construction] industry."
The FMB is the largest trade association in the UK construction industry, representing thousands of firms in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.