On the road to recovery?
A lot has changed since our last blog about the prospects for construction back in March, where we outlined what Rishi Sunak’s inaugural Budget might be for the sector.
Since then, we’ve had a global pandemic, a national lockdown which closed all but essential services, a furlough scheme and, now, what may be a second wave of the Covid-19 virus.
Not long after our last blog, the country was plunged into lockdown, meaning work on construction sites across the country halted with immediate effect. While the furlough scheme was an undoubted boon – at one point nearly 60 per cent of eligible employees were subject to it – there were clear fears about what future they would be returning to.
Fast forward six months and the picture, while still uncertain, looks a little brighter. Figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reveal that the industry is showing signs of recovery following the record monthly decline of 40.2 per cent in April.
Since then, as restrictions have eased, the monthly construction output has grown for three consecutive months; from 7.6 per cent in May 2020, followed by record monthly growth of 23.5 per cent in June 2020 and up by 17.6 per cent in July – the second-largest monthly growth since monthly records began in January 2010.
However, to put it into perspective, the level of construction output in July 2020 was 11.6 per cent below the February 2020 level – before the impact of the impact of the pandemic was truly felt in the UK.
That is why initiatives such as Build, Build, Build are needed to offer a further ray of light for the industry, as Prime Minister Boris Johnson pledges to get Britain constructing again, making it easier for the housebuilders in particular.
Our managing director Andrew Thompson believes there is definitely light at the end of the tunnel: “It is clear that the Government stimulus, coupled with the announcement of the removal of red tape within the planning permission process and the support with stamp duty, has further ignited a confidence within the construction sector.
“There is a real and tangible air of determination to not only recover lost ground, but also a true British bulldog spirit to beat Covid-19. This is evident within the demands of our business and the strength of our pipeline, which is why we have recently invested over £2m in additional products.
“There is no doubt that the furlough scheme has given businesses breathing space to adapt and rebuild, however, the UK supply chain is still restricting that growth and rebound opportunity. If we can accelerate the supply chain recovery to meet the country’s demand for construction, then we will undoubtedly see an impressive ‘V recovery’.”