Cusack: Construction sector scars may be permanent

The region's construction sector is suffering to the point where it may become impossible for it to ever recover, according to Phil Cusack, chairman of Greater Manchester Chamber's Property & Construction Committee.

Cusack, regional director of building services group Aecom, was speaking after the revised GDP figures were released on Thursday with the picture worse than first thought. The previously reported national GDP contraction of -0.2% was revised to -0.3% for the first three months of 2012, in new figures released by the Office for National Statistics.

Cusack said: "The contraction in government spending in the North West has been of great concern to the Chamber's Property & Construction Sector Committee for some time now. Reductions in government investment in the school and hospitals building programmes, allied to massive cuts in local authority capital budgets, have all had significant knock-on effects for the construction industry in Greater Manchester.

"Frankly, we think the Chancellor has got it wrong – we need growth and for growth to occur, we need investment. The magnifying effect in local economies of investment in capital spend on much-needed buildings and infrastructure, shouldn't be underestimated. The construction sector is a major employer and a considerable part of the Greater Manchester economy.

"The sector is suffering almost to the point where it will soon become difficult for it to recover. It will be interesting to see if the construction new order figures, when they are announced, mirror this continuing decline in sector output."

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