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2020 / 2021 Edition

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QPANI supports call for political agreement on finances

Industry bodies united in seeking a sustainable and deliverable budget for Northern Ireland

THE Quarry Products Association Northern Ireland (QPANI), which represents 95% of Northern Ireland’s construction material suppliers, has given its support to the growing number of businesses calling for agreement on a sustainable Northern Ireland budget.

The Construction Industry Group (CIG) – the umbrella body for almost 30 representative organizations covering all aspects of the construction industry in Northern Ireland – has expressed ‘grave concern’ over the current impasse on welfare reform and warned that the industry is facing collapse if the Assembly fails to implement the Stormont House Agreement and agree a sustainable and deliverable budget for Northern Ireland.

Speaking on behalf of its members, CIG chairman Stephen Kane said: ‘We find ourselves in an extremely serious situation whereby the Northern Ireland construction industry, and the people working within in it, face a very bleak future if the Assembly fails to implement the Stormont House Agreement and agree a sustainable, deliverable budget for Northern Ireland.’

A lack of public investment in capital projects, infrastructure and maintenance in Northern Ireland, coupled with a paralysis on decision making by the Executive, means that the pipeline of construction-related work is rapidly drying up and jobs in the industry are at risk.

Gordon Best, regional director of QPANI, said: ‘Our members fully support the recent call by the Construction Industry Group (CIG) for our politicians to reach an agreed decision on implementing the Stormont House Agreement that will enable the construction industry to build a modern infrastructure for an economically competitive Northern Ireland.

‘The future of so many businesses and the hopes of our young people depends on our elected leaders reaching agreement on a future budget and on welfare reform. The current impasse is creating unequalled levels of uncertainty, growing numbers of redundancies and suspension of investment decisions within the construction supply chain.’

A number of local contracting firms whose turnover in Great Britain now exceeds that of their work in Northern Ireland are now believed to be considering moving their main office facilities to Britain.’

Mr Best added: ‘It is sad that the innovation, skills and products of our construction material suppliers are in greater demand outside these shores rather than at home. The responsibility for this lies fairly and squarely with those political parties who ignore the financial realities of life and put political interests ahead of supporting hard-working people and businesses.’

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