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Chuka Umunna MP, Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, said the fall in construction output by 4.1 per cent over the past year and construction work paid for by private sector industries dropping by 24.9 per cent over the last quarter reflects the failure of the Government to adopt an effective plan for growth.

The figures were released today in the ONS Construction Output Statistics for August, which also showed a decrease in £200m in spending on private housing repair and maintenance, a fall of 7.8% over the last quarter.
 
The UK construction sector represents 876,000 firms; a fifth of all private sector enterprises.
 
Chuka Umunna MP said:
 
“The Government is cutting spending and raising taxes too far and too fast and placing unrealistic demands on business to fill the gap vacated by public sector job losses. The huge fall in construction orders from private sector industries over the last quarter is another stark demonstration of how the recovery has stalled under the Tory-led Government.
 
“To help our construction sector in particular, we are calling on the Government to bring forward long-term investment projects, enact a one year VAT cut to 5% on home improvements and repeat the bankers’ bonus tax to build 25,000 new homes.
 
“These are steps which Ministers could take now to get our economy growing again and give an immediate confidence boost to our construction sector. We need to get people working again so we can begin building a better economy for the future.

“Getting our economy moving again and getting people off the dole and into work is vital if we’re to get the deficit down. But the Government is locked into an austerity plan that is hurting but not working."
 
This week, Labour launched its Plan for Jobs and Growth, which includes measures to boost the construction industry:

  • A repeat of the bankers’ bonus tax to fund the building of 25,000 new homes
  • Bringing forward investment long-term investment projects such as school building
  • A temporary 5 per cent VAT rate on home repairs and maintenance
  • A temporary reduction in VAT following January’s damaging VAT rise – putting £450 in the pocket of each family
  • A tax break for every small firm which takes on extra workers

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