New private house-building is at a 50-year low, according to an analysis of the latest official data by The Independent, adding to the evidence that the UK is in recession.

Although construction only accounts for 6% of GDP, the weakness in the rest of the economy means the building industry's state is almost sufficient to push the UK into a slump. It also jeopardises the Government's targets for new housing.

The downturn is being fuelled by the credit crisis, which has seen mortgage products disappear rapidly.

The Independent