Federation comments on publication of the Northern Ireland 2018/19 Budget

In response to the publication by the Secretary of State of the 2018/19 Northern Ireland Budget, Construction Employers Federation Managing Director John Armstrong said...

“Today’s statement is welcome, in a sense, as it finally gives clarity to civil servants to allow them to prepare for the new financial year which is a matter of weeks away.

“Additionally, it is welcome to see the Secretary of State give certainty as to the release of the first tranche of Conservative-DUP deal infrastructure funds from April. At a time of increased sustainability challenge for many local construction firms, the finance from the Confidence and Supply Deal will be a hugely welcome boost to the local industry and the tens of thousands of people employed within it.

“However we now need urgent clarity on how the funds allocated by the Secretary of State today are to be spent by the various Government Departments. As we have said before, the industry had significant concerns with the proposed allocations announced in December’s Budgetary Outlook document. It very clearly detailed the challenges presented because of the huge investment going into the Northern Ireland Executive’s Flagship projects over the next three years even though the overall Capital budget is going up.

“Unquestionably, the Executive’s Flagship schemes stand on their very clear economic merits. However a balance must be struck in budgetary planning between how much resource is spent on these and other areas, such as roads maintenance and our education estate, so to avoid a massive cliff edge for the vast majority of firms not engaged on the Flagship projects.”