Federation comments on Chancellor’s spending announcement

Commenting after today’s spending review announcement by the Chancellor, Construction Employers Federation Managing Director John Armstrong said:

“Today’s statement by the Chancellor forecasts a £100m reduction in Northern Ireland’s capital expenditure in 2020/21 – from £1.7bn this year to £1.6bn next.

“Given Northern Ireland’s multitude of infrastructure challenges – from the funding of Northern Ireland Water, to roads maintenance, to the impact on Government Clients’ budgets as a result of the focus on Executive Flagship schemes – it is critically clear to us that a restored Northern Ireland Executive has absolute fundamental choices ahead of it in terms of how we fund our infrastructure needs.

“When you have key projects, such as the A6 schemes, Belfast Transport Hub and the Children’s Hospital running concurrently, you have to also recognise that that drastically reduces your investment elsewhere if, as we currently are, remain reliant on one funder and that funder’s investment is forecast to decrease.

“As our State of Trade survey earlier this week showed, this is having a major effect on the sustainability of an increasingly large part of the local contracting industry and is, as one clear example alone, stopping huge swathes of much needed housebuilding in its tracks.

“We need a new conversation on how we fund and prioritise infrastructure investment in Northern Ireland. It is vital that a restored Executive treats this as one of its highest priorities”.