Mineral Products Association reports fall in cement, gravel and mixed concrete sales in first quarter of 2010 and urges investment to create economic growth
The cement and aggregate industry is calling on the next government to invest in the construction sector in order to encourage economic growth.
The call comes following the latest result for material sales in the the first quarter of 2010.
According to the Mineral Products Association’s (MPA) report sales of crushed rock increased 6% and asphalt 9% reflecting the increase in national road building and repairs following the freezing weather in the winter.
However, cement sales fell 3%, gravel 6% and ready-mixed concrete by 7%.
According to the MPA the cement and concrete trends indicate that general construction activity remains very depressed and supports the latest Construction Products Association construction forecast that construction output will decline by 3% this year.
These results show how sensitive the construction materials and construction markets are to the outcome of the general election
Simon van der Byl, executive director of the MPA
Commenting on the results, Simon van der Byl, executive director of the MPA said: “These results show how sensitive the construction materials and construction markets are to the outcome of the general election. We see a welcome increase in demand from road contracts due to the previous government’s accelerated investment in this area.
"However, these and other public construction markets face swingeing cuts if existing plans to half public investment spending in order to finance high public debt interest payments are implemented by a new government”.
van der Byl added "the most effective means of successfully managing the public sector debt is to encourage rapid economic growth, and one of the most effective engines of economic growth is construction investment – each £1 invested in construction generates £2.84 of economic activity.
The MPA says it also remains extremely concerned that the localisation of the planning system set out in the Conservative and Liberal Democrat manifestos has the potential to severely constrain recovery in the housing and private development markets – therefore damaging the potential for sustained economic recovery.
The MPA is the trade association for the aggregates, asphalt, cement, ready-mixed concrete, lime, mortar and silica sand industries. Each year the industry supplies £5bn of materials to construction and other sectors.