The Office for National Statistics says the goods trade deficit has widened to £10.103 billion - the second-largest gap since records began in January 1998. That compared to a deficit of £8.734 billion in March. Exports to non-EU countries fell 10.3 percent on the month, driven by lower sales of chemicals and cars.
Meanwhile, construction output has fallen at its fastest rate in three years, dropping 4.9% to £7.8bn in the first half of 2012. A recent report showed national construction levels will fall by by a further 3% during 2012 with 45,000 skilled workers and trades people expected to lose their jobs. Two more established local firms have gone bust, Philip James Ltd of Leicester and Triangle Builders in Bootle, laying off workers and leaving suppliers looking to be paid.
Wasn't the construction sector supposed to stimulate growth in the economy? Britain's economy has now stagnated for a year and a half, confirming that this is the slowest rebound from recession in a generation. Last month, Alison Perry, managing director of Triangle Builders, was awarded an OBE in recognition of her contributions to the building trade in her role as chairman of the National Federation of Builders (NFB). In this post she advised David Cameron about how to boost the construction industry.
Today, sources at firms who are owed tens of thousands of pounds they are now unlikely to receive, said they were angry that 47-year-old Mrs Perry had accepted the honour when it must have been known that the business was at risk. Mrs Perry was unavailable for comment.