Britain’s construction industry contracted at its slowest pace in seven months in April, as the weak pound helped to support new orders, according to the latest survey of purchasing managers by CIPS/Markit.

The purchasing managers’ index improved to show that activity had risen from a reading of 30.9 in March to 38.1 in April - its highest level for seven months. However, it is still below 50, the level that separates expansion from contraction.

Activity in housing, commercial construction and civil engineering output all rose on the previous month. Prices of materials continued to fall sharply although this was countered by the fact that construction companies had to cut their prices to try to generate business.

Financial Times, Daily Telegraph, The Times