British construction companies have reported their sharpest fall in activity since just after June 2016's Brexit vote. As Sonia Legg reports, new work dried up last month on concern over the economic outlook.
Building a future outside the EU is proving a struggle for Britain. And construction companies are finding it hard to build too. IHS Markit's latest survey shows the sharpest fall in activity since the Brexit vote in June 2016. New work dried up because of concern over the economic outlook. (SOUNDBITE) (English) HEAD OF CORPORATE DEVELOPMENT, 7IM, JUSTIN URQUHART STEWART, SAYING: "From leading the G7, now the dog of the G7 without the lead. And so it finds itself now in a much weaker position. What's happened? That one word that actually runs an economy - "confidence". You talk to companies around the British Isles and what you'll find is 'I'll invest and I'll spend money within the next 12 months but after that I'm not going to be investing anymore until you can be clear on that dreadful B word again as to what it's going to mean for my business and my customers." Britain's economy has suffered its weakest growth this year since 2012. The ruling Conservative party - currently holding its annual conference - isn't doing well either. Divisions among ministers are undermining the Prime Minister. And if Theresa May was hoping for a boost from EU colleagues negotiating Brexit - she'll be disappointed. (SOUNDBITE) (English) EU COMMISSION PRESIDENT, JEAN-CLAUDE JUNCKER, SAYING: "We have not yet made the sufficient progress needed." Even worse for May perhaps - the perception from other European politicians. (SOUNDBITE) (English) EUROPEAN PEOPLE'S PARTY GROUP LEADER AT THE EU PARLIAMENT, MANFRED WEBER, SAYING: "The top question I think for the moment is who should I call in London? Who speaks for the government? (British Prime Minister) Theresa May, (British Foreign Secretary) Boris Johnson, or even (British chief Brexit Negotiator) David Davis? By reading Johnson's attacks against his own prime minister, he shows the British government is trapped." At least construction only makes up 6 percent of the economy. A survey of the mighty service sector is released on Wednesday - that could really rock the foundations.