Builders land blow on Osborne

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OUTPUT from the construction sector shrank last month and confidence about the next 12 months has fallen to its lowest in almost four years, landing a blow for the Chancellor ahead of his Autumn Statement.

The construction purchasing managers’ index – compiled by the Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply and Markit – fell to 49.3 last month from 50.9 in October, its lowest level since August and below the 50-mark separating growth from contraction for the third time in four months.

Vicky Redwood, an economist at Capital Economics, said: “It’s not a particularly good backdrop for George Osborne. He remains hemmed in.

“The data support the evidence that the fourth quarter is shaping up to be pretty weak, supporting the idea the third-quarter rebound was entirely due to temporary factors.”