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MPA calls for ‘accelerated delivery’

Nigel Jackson

Critical need for delivery of outstanding infrastructure projects as sales survey confirms significant fall in construction output in 2012

WITH provisional construction output figures for 2012 indicating a 9% fall during the year, evidence of the rapid decline in construction activity has been confirmed by the Mineral Products Association’s sales survey results for the year, which indicate a reduction of 9% in aggregates, cement and ready-mixed concrete markets in 2012, and an 18% decline in asphalt sales.

Although the rate of decline of aggregates, cement and concrete sales moderated in the fourth quarter, in general markets remained very depressed throughout the year.


Today’s GDP results confirm that the decline in mining and quarrying and construction activity represents a major drag on the UK’s economic output – if construction markets had been flat in 2012 overall GDP would have increased by 0.7% instead of the recorded standstill.

The MPA says its results are based on actual sales volumes recorded by a high and representative sample of industry companies and illustrate the reality of construction markets in 2012 as opposed to sentiment and speculation.

As asphalt sales are related closely to road maintenance and construction activity, the recorded 18% reduction in sales confirms that local authorities have had severe funding constraints for maintaining roads and that the road construction market has experienced a severe decline.

According to the MPA, detailed construction output data for the first nine months of 2012 showed that road construction fell by 44% compared with the same period of 2011.

Commenting on the figures, MPA chief executive Nigel Jackson said: ‘The MPA figures for 2012 highlight the scale of decline in construction industry markets in 2012. This was the lowest year for aggregates and concrete sales since 1965.

‘We welcomed the increased funding for construction announced in the Autumn Statement, but these increases are less than the volume of construction lost in 2012. In these circumstances it is now critical that we see real and accelerated delivery of the huge backlog of outstanding infrastructure projects.

‘There has been enough discussion of the need for more and better infrastructure, whether for housing, energy, utility or transport, and the financing required. This is all now recognized and accepted. 2013 has to be about delivery, delivery, delivery,’ he said.

Mr Jackson added that the MPA would maintain its offer to work with all arms of government to help secure the growth needed to turn the economy around. 


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