UK GDP growth held in check by 0.9% dip in construction growth

A downturn in construction activity put the brakes on UK GDP growth in the three months to the end of June, according to Office for National Statistics’ (ONS) figures.

Construction growth has been slowing since the start of the year, according to ONS data, and after a 0.2% rise in the first quarter, April to June saw activity go into reverse, falling by 0.9%.

The ONS said that overall GDP growth of 0.3% versus the previous three months had been fuelled by an uplift in the services sector, particularly the retail trade.

The CBI said it wasn’t surprised by the sluggish growth figure. “We expect growth to remain lukewarm over the next couple of years,” said Rain Newton-Smith, the organisation’s chief economist.  

Newton-Smith called for a limited transition period as the UK leaves the EU where the country stays in the single market and a customs union until a final deal is in force, a move she said “would help create a bridge to a new trading arrangement”.

She added: “It would give businesses the confidence they need to invest, expand and create jobs.”