Construction output has fallen in all sectors except housing and repair, according to downbeat statistics from the DETR.
The value of new construction work dipped 3% in the third quarter of 2000 compared with the same period last year, from £7.68bn to £7.56bn. The value of all work was down from £14.4bn to £14.25bn.

New public housing was up to £272m from £220m in the same period last year and new private housing rose to £1.63bn from £1.53bn in the same period last year. Repair and maintenance in the private non-housing sector has also increased from £1.85bn to £2.01bn.

The DETR figures were backed by the latest Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply index, which found that construction activity grew at the slowest pace for 21 months.

The index fell from 55.7 in October to 54.3 in November (any number above 50 denotes growth). Housing was close to stagnation, according to the index, which showed a rating of 50.2.

The index did show a rise in new orders, from 58.5 in October to 58.8 in November.