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The UK’s construction industry grew by more than a third in the first three months of 2017, new figures reveal.

The Creditsafe Watchdog Report found total sales across the sector reached over £380 billion in the first quarter of the year - up 38 per cent from £275 billion in the final quarter of 2016.

The report, which tracks quarterly economic developments across construction as well as 11 other sectors, also revealed that over 16,000 new companies were established in the sector between January and March this year resulting in a one per cent rise in employment numbers, with total jobs reaching 863,776.

The volume of bad debt owed to businesses within the industry fell by 20 per cent to just over £17 million.

Meanwhile, companies operating within the sector also improved their own payment practices, with the level of bad debt owed by the sector falling by four per cent to a little over £89 million.

Rachel Mainwaring, operations director at Creditsafe, said: “Figures in today’s Creditsafe Watchdog Report are highly optimistic for the construction industry.

"Business confidence across the sector remains reassuring despite the downturn of Brexit and shows strong indication that the construction industry will continue to build in stability and growth in the next quarter and throughout the year.”

Creditsafe’s research also revealed the risk level of insolvency for businesses operating within the construction sector. Of the 336,655 currently active companies, 9% (29,379) are classified as being at Very High or High risk.