The fall in construction output of 1.8% in July, taking it below the pre-pandemic level in February 2020, is a wakeup call that the construction industry is struggling. Both government and industry need to pull together to address the current shortage of skills and materials driving the decline in construction, according to the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) in response to ONS data released today on construction output.

Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the FMB, said: “Disappointingly, we once again see construction output fall, putting it below pre-coronavirus levels. We know that material price increases and skills shortages are contributing to the decline, with members telling us this is their number one issue. According to a recent FMB survey 98% of builders are facing material price increases. Worryingly, new work and repair and maintenance in private housing are the main causes for this decline, which are the backbone of the workload for small builders. I’m concerned that despite the high demand for home improvements, something which could stimulate economic recovery, we see this sector on the decline. We must pull together as an industry and press government to ensure these issues are dealt with quickly.”