Spending on infrastructure in the UK has declined sharply since the Brexit vote, according to Barbour ABI, the construction consultancy that supplies figures to the Office for National Statistics.
The value of contracts for July dropped to £1.5 billion, a fall of 20 percent against the previous month and 23 percent lower than a year ago.
Michael Dall, chief economist at Barbour ABI, said the public and private sector were putting major projects on hold as the result of uncertainty surrounding Britain’s withdrawal from the EU.
He urged the government to take advantage of historically low interest rates after the Bank of England cut rates to a notch above zero this month.
He said the UK should seize the moment and invest in big new infrastructure projects that could play a “pivotal role” in boosting economic performance and creating employment opportunities.
“While this is at odds with the austerity agenda of the previous administration, it is one of the few tools the government has available to boost the economy,” he said.
Last week Leo Quinn, chief executive of Britain’s biggest construction contractor Balfour Beatty, said industry was “looking for a lead from government”.
“Money is effectively free, so it’s a good time for the government to be making long-term decisions on infrastructure,” he said.