ONS figures on the decline of the construction industry shows the government is 'not doing enough', believes Calor Gas.

The ONS figures show that the total volume of construction output in the second quarter of 2012 fell by 9.5% compared with the same quarter in 2011. There were widespread falls in the volume of construction output in the second quarter of 2012 when compared with the first quarter.

There were falls in eight of the nine sectors, with the largest decrease in new infrastructure, which fell by 8.6%.

Calor Gas believes these figures show that greater pressure needs to be placed on the government to liberate the construction industry from unnecessary regulation, particularly in rural areas where there is a significant lack of affordable housing.

Earlier this year, Calor joined forces with the Countryside Alliance, Action with Communities in Rural England, the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) and the Rural Services Network to call on the government to do more to support rural homeowners.

The ONS figures support those that have been released previously by the FMB, which showed that only 45% of the annual house building requirements are taking place each year; 232,000 housing units are needed each year but only 100,000 are being built at the moment. Costs of building in rural areas can be as much as £40,000 more than those incurred in urban areas.

Paul Blacklock, head of strategy and corporate affairs at Calor Gas, said: “These disastrous figures show that not enough is being done by the coalition government to support the construction industry, especially in rural areas.

"It is already far more expensive to build in rural areas than it is in urban areas, and the statistics released by the ONS today show that the zero carbon budget conceived at the height of the economic boom is placing increased pressure on the construction industry at a time when it needs all the help it can get. The government needs to seriously reconsider those measures which pile extra costs on house building. These figures prove that it is a fantasy to believe that we are enjoying a housing boom.

“The construction industry should be forming an integral part of the government’s policy to kick-start the economy, particularly in rural communities, where many families are being priced out of the housing market. These latest figures show that the government has once again failed to recognise these opportunities.”