Urgent action is needed to support the construction industry, says HHIC, as boiler sales fall to their lowest in 10 years.

Natural gas and LPG boiler sales for the first six months of 2012 are at their lowest for 10 years. Sales figures from January to June 2012 stand at 671,435 – a 5.9% fall on 2011. Half-yearly sales have not been this low since 2002, when they stood at 638,199.

The trade association said the figures confirm fears that the UK construction sector is "in a perilous state". HHIC, whcih represents the whole supply chain in the heating industry, is now calling for action to be taken now, before too many businesses fall victim of the depressed housing and construction market.

HHIC said UK boiler manufacturers have invested heavily in product development, new technologies and are net exporters to the rest of the world. They are seen as a showcase for all that is good in UK manufacturing and have attracted numerous Ministerial visits to their plants.

UK boiler sales are heavily dependent upon the housing market. The low level of property transactions, falls in new housing starts and lack of consumer confidence are all having a negative impact on what was seen as a successful UK manufacturing industry.

Roger Webb, HHIC director, said: “There is an urgent need for action to help the construction sector in the UK. The housing market is depressed and this is clearly hitting UK manufacturing as well. These figures are further evidence of the need to provide a stimulus in housing and construction sectors that can also benefit other vulnerable areas of the economy.

“There are a number of things that government could do to help, from VAT cuts to increasing access to finance, that could help our industry right now. Planned measures such as the Green Deal may help, but that won’t kick in for months and its impact is as yet uncertain.”