28/01/2011

Size 'No Barrier to the Green Deal'

Small construction companies must not be excluded from the Green New Deal was the message from the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) Northern Ireland to the Minister for Department of Social Development (DSD) & Housing, Alex Attwood MLA, when they met this week.

The FMB explained how important the Green New Deal, for which the Minister for Finance and Personnel has announced a £16 million investment over the next four years, could be for small construction firms in Northern Ireland and also for homeowners facing rising fuel costs.

As well as highlighting how the Green New Deal could make use of the 80,000 empty homes in the province and reduce fuel poverty, consumer incentives were discussed to assist with the targets set out in the Green New Deal to treat 100,000 homes over three years.

Fiscal measures to encourage consumer uptake of the programme include stamp duty or rate relief, low interest rate loans and a reduction in VAT to five per cent for home improvement and energy efficiency works.

Maire Nawaz, Director of FMB Northern Ireland said: "The workloads of small and medium sized construction firms are currently declining every quarter and we know from the FMB's State of Trade Survey that firms in Northern Ireland are suffering more than anywhere else in the UK.

"The Green New Deal could be key to economic recovery of small construction firms but the barriers SMEs often face in public sector procurement must not be replicated in the Green New Deal programme; something the Minister acknowledged."

(CD)

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