The construction industry has yet to see a Boris bounce

Michael Lloyd

August 2, 2019

The construction industry has yet to see a Boris bounce, Phil Harris, director at BLP Insurance has claimed.

The latest Construction PMI figures showed contraction in house building softened from June’s three-year low. Looking ahead, business confidence was the weakest since November 2012 due to Brexit uncertainty, the prospect of a General Election and delays to infrastructure work.

Harris said: “It was unsurprising to once again see little in the way of positive momentum in this month’s PMI figures, with record high temperatures only adding to the perpetual pent up frustration of the UK construction sector.

“The mood music was all about ‘can do’ attitude last week as the new Prime Minister, Boris Johnson burst on to the scene with ambitious pledges to increase long-desired public spending, signalling plans to plough ahead and ‘get on with things’ in spite of the Brexit-shaped elephant in the room.

“There is no silver bullet for the construction sector’s current woes, and whether we’re really ripe for a Boris bounce remains to be seen.

“The industry needs clear and decisive progress on major infrastructure projects to drive growth, not empty and populist vanity projects for which Johnson was renowned for during his tenure as mayor of London.

“Many in the sector will be viewing his promised review of HS2 as a litmus test for his intentions. Meanwhile, little about the UK’s circumstances has changed when it comes to Brexit, providing no respite on whether the PM’s spending plans will stand up to scrutiny.”

Johnson appointed Esther McVey as housing minister, the ninth in just nine years.

Harris added: “The construction industry is crying out for a torchbearer to provide the stability to navigate the gloomy Brexit impasse.

“Nonetheless, fundamentals continue to remain strong, and it was encouraging to see a glimpse of optimism with the value of June construction contracts up 5.5% on the previous month.

“With the 31 October deadline approaching rapidly, it’s vital that the government provides some confidence, clarity and stimulus for the construction sector.”

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