Triple-dip recession avoided

The British economy grew by 0.3 percent in the first three months of 2013, to avoid a triple-dip recession. In Wales, the construction sector showed little sign of recovery, with reports of a decline in workloads.

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Welsh Govt: UK economy 'continuing to struggle'

The Welsh Government says that today's figures showing GDP grew 0.3 percent across the UK in the first three months of the year, highlight that the UK economy is "continuing to struggle."

Whilst the Welsh Government is doing everything it can to support businesses in Wales and grow the Welsh economy, we are constrained by the macro economic policies of the UK Government.

We have been consistent in calling on the UK Government to change course and deal with the lack of confidence across all sectors of the economy.

– Edwina Hart, Economy Minister


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Health of the British economy sector by sector

This is how the different sectors of the British economy have performed in the first three months of this year:

  • Agriculture, forestry and fishing - Fell by 3.7 percent compared with 0.5 percent contraction in the previous quarter.
  • Construction - Output decreased by 2.5 percent capping off a 5.9 percent decrease in the year to March 2013.
  • Production - Grew by 0.2 percent following a decrease of 2.1 percent in the previous quarter. This growth was driven by mining and quarrying, and electricity supply.
  • Services - 0.6 percent growth was the driving force behind the growth in overall GDP. This picture of positive growth was seen across the sector.
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George Osborne: 'We are making progress'

The Treasury have tweeted reaction to the latest GDP figures:

Finally the Treasury tweeted: "…but by continuing to confront our problems head on, Britain is recovering and we are building an economy fit for the future."


'Underlying sense of optimism' in construction industry

Despite the decline, the survey also found signs of optimism in the market with surveyors predicting growing workloads over the next 12 months, alongside hopes for employment levels in the building sector.

There is no doubt that trading conditions remain very challenging across the construction sector, however I believe there remains an underlying sense of optimism within the industry that there will be a moderate in-year increase in activity during 2014.

Funding remains a challenge for the industry, with recent figures published by the Bankof England figures last week showing that net lending to companies slumped by £4.8 billion in the three months to February, declining by £2.8 billion in February alone.

If we are to see the anticipated recovery over the course of the year there is a clear need for the financial institutions to be more supportive. There remain opportunities for alternative funding vehicles to enter the market, and plug the void that is currently being left by the banks.

– Neil Brierley, RICS chairman for Wales

Decline in Welsh construction

A RICS survey found almost all Welsh construction sectors were in decline in the first quarter Credit: Rui Vieira/PA Wire

The latest construction market survey from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) found that almost all sectors of Welsh construction had seen a decline in the first three months of the year.

Around 13 per cent more chartered surveyors reported a fall in the number of workloads.

The survey found a "significant reduction" in public housing projects and that infrastructure, commercial, industrial and public sector construction levels were also struggling. Private housing was the only sector to see an increase.

Financial constraints was the main issue holding back construction output, according to 88 per cent of those responding to the survey, followed by insufficient demand and weather conditions.

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