The latest starts figures appear to support the view that house building will drop by about a half next year as current projects completed and few if any new sites are opened.

That would mean a loss of about £10 billion in construction workload.

Put another way that is about half the 1.7% fall the CBI expects to see in the UK gross domestic product in 2009.

One might reasonably assume most of the rest of the fall will be down to the drop in work being felt by the huge amount of housing-market related businesses.

The house building figures show that starts in England for the third quarter stood at 22,230, which is just above half the figure seen in the same quarter a year ago.

Completions are holding up better, but much of this will be down to sites being built out and a switch of private homes to swell the social sector completions.

With much social sector housing reliant on private sector house building for funding, we might reasonably expect to see the social sector housing figures fall away in the latter quarter of this year and the early part of next.