But experts predict falls to 2012

The construction industry grew 0.5% in the three months to June, new government figures show.

The figures from the Office of National Statistics showed the small growth followed a decline in output of 3.4% in the first quarter of the year.

Construction fell 1.4% between the second quarter of 2011 and the same period the previous year.

Industry bodies predicted that public sector spending cuts would cause sharp falls in the second half of the year.

The Civil Engineering Contractors Association’s director of external affairs Alasdair Reisner said the second quarter growth was smaller than had been hoped.

He said: “The slim growth seen in the ONS figures indicates that any real recovery remains a distant hope rather that a reality. It is particularly worrying that these figures may not yet fully take account of expected reductions in public sector spending on construction, creating the risk that there may be further bad news for construction growth in the second half of the year.”

He appealed to the government to remove barriers to the construction of new infrastructure.

Michael Ankers, chief executive of the Construction Products Association (CPA), said: “Growth in private sector construction has finally begun to recover and although public sector construction output remains stronger than we had anticipated it is clear that the impact of the public sector spending cuts is still to be felt and is forecast to cause sharp falls later this year.”

He said construction output would be lower in 2011 than 2010 and 2012 would be lower still at 2.5% below 2011.

He added that construction work was focused on the South-east and London and the CPA looked forward to the Green Deal to stimulate demand for construction.

Overall the UK’s output grew 0.2% in the second quarter of 2011 compared with the first and 0.7% compared with the second quarter of 2010.