Growth in Britain's construction industry slowed in June, adding to signs that the economy might be struggling to regain much momentum after a lacklustre start to the year. As David Pollard reports, the Markit/CIPS UK Construction Purchasing Managers' Index fell to 54.8 from May's 18-month high of 56.0.
The cranes point one way. Up - for a UK construction sector whose PMI reading hit an 18-month high in May. June offers a different view. At 54.8 the PMI has come up short against expectations. With optimism at a four-month low. As the sector zeroes in on political and economic uncertainty. (SOUNDBITE) (English) GLOBAL FINANCIAL ECONOMIST, COMMERZBANK, PETER DIXON, SAYING: "It hasn't really been particularly strong for the last couple of years. So I think what the data I think what the data are showing is that there may be indications of a slowdown in the works, with obviously a bit of a miss on the PMI manufacturing numbers yesterday." But as cost pressures pick up, inflation has become a burden for builders - as for Mark Carney and his rate-setters. For whom there is a new pressure: the threat of strike action at the Bank of England at the end of July. As anger spreads over a cap on public sector pay. (SOUNDBITE) (English) GLOBAL FINANCIAL ECONOMIST, COMMERZBANK, PETER DIXON, SAYING: "The problem the UK's austerity policy faces is that it was decisively rejected at last month's general election ...I think it's likely that at some point the UK will have to accept that it will have to loosen the purse strings a little bit, partly to compensate for the seven years of austerity ... And also, I think, to help cushion the economy in the wake of what is likely to be quite a painful Brexit as things currently stand. " Despite a near three per cent inflation rate, finance minister, Philip Hammond, says there'll be no policy change. But may eventually be forced to listen if the demands get louder.