Public spending showed signs of making a much needed impact on the construction industry as government stimulus money helped drive new orders in the sector.

More than £3bn of new work was commissioned in July, up 39% on the previous month, as investment on public sector projects – from road maintenance to hospitals and new housing – rose to its highest level since the recession began.

Infrastructure orders rose by 59% in the three months to July compared with the same period a year earlier. However, public and housing association housing orders fell 12% over the same period.

The construction industry has endured a prolonged period of discomfort, as a sharp slowdown in housebuilding and a drying up of new commercial building projects has caused an estimated 16% decline in output during this year, making it the country’s leading source of redundancies during the recession.

Financial Times