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ORDERS FOR NEW CONSTRUCTION: DECEMBER 1996

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The total volume of new orders in 1996 as a whole was one per cent higher than in 1995. ...
The total volume of new orders in 1996 as a whole was one per cent higher than in 1995.

In the fourth quarter of 1996, new orders were eight per cent higher than the previous quarter, the second consecutive increase.

Both the annual and quarterly increases were due to strong showings in the private housing, private commercial and infrastructure sectors.

The total volume of new orders received by contractors for construction work in Great Britain in the fourth quarter of 1996 was eight per cent higher than in the third quarter of 1996 but two per cent lower than in the fourth quarter of 1995. These provisional figures reflect the volume of orders at constant (1990) prices adjusted to exclude normal seasonal variations.

New orders in the private housing sector in the fourth quarter of 1996 were 33 per cent higher compared with the previous quarter and 43 per cent higher than in the corresponding period a year ago. Public housing and housing association orders in the latest quarter were 26 per cent lower than in the previous quarter and 14 per cent lower than in the same period a year earlier.

Infrastructure orders in the latest quarter were ten per cent higher compared with the previous quarter and 23 per cent higher than in the corresponding period a year earlier.

Public non-housing orders (excluding infrastructure) in the latest quarter were 18 per cent lower compared with the previous quarter and 23 per cent lower than in the corresponding period a year ago.

Private industrial orders in the latest quarter were one per cent lower than in the previous quarter and 34 per cent lower compared with the same period a year ago.

Private commercial orders in the latest quarter were 13 per cent higher compared with the previous quarter but 14 per cent lower compared with the corresponding period a year ago.

In current prices the total value of new orders in December was£1908 million.

Environment minister James Clappison said today that the prospects for Britain's construction industry were the best they had been for some years.

Mr Clappison said:

'After a particularly difficult time for the construction industry,I am very pleased to see that new orders, which provide the best indicator of forthcoming construction activity, have shown a sustained improvement.

Orders for new construction increased over the last two quarters, with particularly strong growth in the fourth quarter where orders were 8% higher in real terms than in the previous quarter. This was due to strong showings in the private housing, private commercial and infrastructure sectors.

Overall the volume of new orders rose by 1% in real terms in 1996 compared with the previous year. This is the first annual increase since 1993. The prospects for the construction industry in 1997 now look better than they have for some time.'

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