Executive must now press ahead with setting a multi-year budget

Commenting after today’s UK Budget statement, Mark Spence, Managing Director of the Construction Employers Federation said:

“With the Chancellor’s announcement today, it is now vital that the Northern Ireland Executive sets a multi-year budget before the forthcoming Assembly election.

“The construction industry has long sought the reestablishment of a multi-year approach given the greater certainty it will provide to Government Clients planning out their investment on areas such as road maintenance and new build social housing. It would also enable our industry to plan better for the years ahead, especially as we face into the headwinds of continued material shortages and unprecedented price increases.  

“We do however hope that such a multi-year budget will not just represent a mere setting of figures but, rather, set out the financial backdrop to dealing with the fundamental challenges that face us. This should include advancing the reform of the Housing Executive that has made little tangible progress in the year since its announcement, and addressing the long-term governance and funding arrangements of Northern Ireland Water in order to meet the need of PC21 and beyond.

“The Finance Minister has already made clear his welcome intention to bring a draft multi-year budget forward for consultation by Christmas with final agreement in early 2022. All parties within the Executive must now commit to this timeline as it will provide financial certainty and a boost of confidence to the industry in these very uncertain times”.