By Daniel Hunter

Output from the UK's construction sector suffered a sharp drop in January, both on a monthly and annual basis, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Output compared with December was down 2.6% after a 0.6% fall in December. New work fell by 4.2% while repair and maintenance showed no growth.

Within the all new work category, all work types except private industrial work reported decreases in January 2015, private commercial falling by 6.6%, infrastructure by 2.7% and total housing by 5.0%, with public and private housing reporting decreases of 18.4% and 1.3% respectively.

Compared with January 2014, the ONS said construction output was down 3.1% - the first annual fall since May 2013, when it dropped by 2.8%.

All new work and repair and maintenance fell by 2.7% and 3.7% respectively compared with last year. Within all new work, private commercial provided the largest contribution to the decrease compared with January 2014, falling by 8.9%. Smaller decreases were reported by infrastructure (-2.4%) and public other new work (-2.3%). The decrease in repair and maintenance was primarily due to total housing repair and maintenance which fell by 7.0%.