But public sector spending supported recent growth ahead of cuts kicking in

The volume of new orders in Q4 2010 was £13.75bn, according to ONS figures released today. This compares with £13.35bn in Q4 2009.

While the year on year growth is not particularly strong, quarter on quarter, the figures are much more positive. In Q3 2010 the volume of new orders was £11.65bn, so today’s numbers represent an 18% increase.

According to the figures, all sectors showed growth in Q4 when compared with Q3. But this does not tell the full story as the strongest growth sectors were public housing, which grew from £611m in Q3 to £1.03bn in Q4, public non-housing, which grew from £2.7bn to £3.7bn and infrastructure, which grew from £1.5bn to £2.1bn.

Obviously, these sectors will be coming under further pressure this year and next as government spending cuts really start to bite. Growth in the private sector looks weak and unable to pick up the slack. The private housing and private commercial sectors barely registered any growth in Q4. Private housing new orders increased by just £7m, from £2.6bn in Q3 to £2.607bn in Q4, while private commercial sector new orders increased from £3.77bn to £3.78bn.