CSO building stats underline need for construction measures in Budget – CIF

The Government needs to bring forward measures in this year’s Budget to boost the construction sector if the continuing decline in construction output is to be halted, according to the Construction Industry Federation (CIF).  The CIF were speaking after the latest statistics from the CSO revealed that production in building and construction dropped a further 2.9% in value in the second quarter of 2012, leading to a 7.1% annual drop.

“The Government has acknowledged that the economy needs a working, healthy construction sector but clearly activity is still falling as the latest CSO statistics show,” said CIF Director General, Tom Parlon.  “If you were to extrapolate the figures for the first half of this year and apply them to the remainder of the year, then the CIF estimates that the total construction output in Ireland will be approximately €8.4 billion for 2012.  That would represent a drop of €30 billion when compared to 2006 when the value of construction activity was €38.63 billion.”

“The one positive from the CSO figures was that the level of civil engineering activity has increased by 9.8% on an annual basis.  The Government should be congratulated for increasing this area of activity.  The stimulus package should help increase activity in this sector further when work comes to fruition.  However with the Government having announced in November 2011 that the 2013 Budget would see a further reduction of €550 million in capital spending, something will need to be done if the Government hopes to address the gap in civil engineering activity between now and rollout of the stimulus package.”

“The statistics once more detail the continuing decline in residential building activity, falling to an index score of 8.6 in the second quarter.  The CIF estimates that 7,500 – 8,000 new housing units will be built in Ireland this year.  Considering that the 10,480 units built in 2011 marked the lowest level since the records began you can see why the Government is continuing to see a downturn in the amount of tax revenue generated through the residential property market.

“If the Government does wish to get the sector going and see more positive figures in the CSO statistics then they will need to bring forward some measures to promote the sector in the forthcoming Budget,” Mr. Parlon concluded.