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  • March’s Markit/CIPS Construction PMI recorded a headline index of 62.5, little changed from February but below January’s high of 64.6. The pace of expansion in civil engineering fell back after being buoyed by emergency flood relief work in February, with housing regaining its place as the fastest growing sector. 59% of survey respondents anticipated a rise in construction activity over the coming 12 months with only 5% forecasting a fall.
  • The 2013/14 Annual local authority road maintenance (ALARM) survey found that local authorities faced a combined £713.1 million shortfall in annual road structural budgets in 2013/14. This shortfall was an average of £2m in London where 19% of roads are in poor structural condition, £5.1m in the rest of England where 18% of roads are in a poor state, and £2.85m in Wales where 16% of roads are in poor condition. The estimated total cost of clearing road maintenance backlogs across the UK is £12 billion, up significantly from £10.5 billion estimated in last year’s survey.


  • The Halifax House Price Index fell by 1.1% in March compared to the previous month. However the trend of growth continued to accelerate; house prices in the first quarter of 2014 were 2.3% higher than the final quarter of 2013 and 8.7% higher than a year earlier. House Price Statistics from Nationwide also suggested a degree of moderation in price rises. They estimate that March saw monthly house price growth of 0.4%, the slowest rate since June of last year, though prices were 9.5% higher than a year earlier.
  • New car registrations in March rose by 17.7% compared to a year earlier, according to the SMMT. The 464,284 registrations was the highest total for the month of March, when new registration plates are released, since 2004.
  •  A composite index of the Markit Services, Manufacturing and Construction PMI surveys edged down to its lowest level since June last year, suggesting that the recent pace of growth may slow, however the reading of 58.1 still represents strong expansion in all three sectors.
  • Figures from the ONS suggest that UK productivity may begin to improve having fallen further in the UK than in other recession-hit countries, affecting the UK’s export competitiveness. Output per hour in the final quarter of 2013 was 0.2% higher than in the third quarter. On an annual basis output per hour was up 0.7%, having declined from the second quarter of 2012 to the third quarter of 2013. 

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