Record Scottish construction output 'driven by infrastructure'

Published:  14 December, 2015

Output from the Scottish construction industry has risen to a record £14bn in the 12 months to September 2015, according to new figures published by the Office of National Statistics.

This compares to a previous record output of more than £13bn over the 12 months to June.

Scottish Building Federation managing director Vaughan Hart said: "Following the recession, the recent impressive growth in construction sector output is great news."

Mr Hart warned, however, that the Scottish economy has become overly reliant on major infrastructure projects as its main source of economic growth, as was found by the recent Ernst and Young report. "This is not sustainable in the long term," he said.

As an overall percentage of Scottish construction industry output, infrastructure has risen from around £1.5bn (13%) of total industry output in the year to September 2008, to almost £4bn (28%) over the 12 months to September 2015.

Over the same time period, the percentage of industry output accounted for by new housing has fallen from 22% to 16%, while private commercial activity has also declined from 26% of total output in 2008 to 17% today.

"Based on this analysis, I have to agree that current rates of output growth in the Scottish construction sector are not sustainable and suggest an over-reliance on the infrastructure sector of the industry. In making future investment decisions, there needs to be a continued focus on balancing the industry's performance across different sectors so as to put the industry's recovery on a more sustainable footing for the longer term," concluded Mr Hart.

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