Business

Lack of Stormont Executive negatively impacting north's construction firms

THREE-quarters of small building firms in the north have said the continued lack of a Stormont Executive will stunt their growth going forward

THREE-quarters of small building firms in the north have said the continued lack of a Stormont Executive will stunt their growth going forward.

New research from the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) Northern Ireland shows that the political deadlock in the north is having an effect on local business, with nearly 60 per cent of building companies already impacted negatively or very negatively by the lack of local government. A total of 86 per cent of those surveyed said the absence of a devolved government has already impacted the economy negatively or very negatively.

Looking directly at the construction industry respondents impacted by the political stalemate cited issues including the knock-on impact on the wider economy due to major projects such as the Hightown incinerator not being taken forward, less public sector opportunities and a dent in consumer confidence. Other issues raised were in relation to recruitment difficulties and necessary government decisions about economic development, housing and other issues not being taken.

Director of FMB NI, Gavin McGuire said the ongoing "political turmoil" at Stormont is seriously undermining the construction industry and the wider economy.

"We know that it has already had a negative impact on the ability of SME firms to grow and prosper. Worse still, many firms think that the worst is yet to come, with even more predicting a negative impact in the future should this continue," he warned

"This is a particular shame given that before the collapse we heard positive messages from the relevant ministers regarding increased investment in homes and infrastructure projects. Any progress that we were making towards a programme of well-targeted capital spending has now been wasted.”

"With Brexit less than a year away, now more than ever we need strong and decisive political leadership that can tackle the considerable headwinds that face our sector. We are already contending with rising material costs, growing skills shortages, and a planning system that continues to hold back house builders. We therefore urgently need the political system to return to normality so that our construction firms can plan for the future," Mr McGuire added.

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