Stormont Plan To Boost Construction Sector

The building trade is to enjoy a boost with news this week that the Stormont Executive has agreed on the Programme for Government (PfG).

In a statement from the NI Social Development Minister Nelson McCausland, it emerged that both upgrading of existing homes and the building of news ones are planned as part of the wide ranging strategy.

"Housing is central to individuals well-being be it the ability to access social and affordable housing, either as a tenant or a first time buyer, or enjoying a warm well insulated home that helps tackle some of the causes of fuel poverty.

"I am also confident that the investment we make in housing has knock on effects across, the construction, supply and delivery sectors.

"Whether that be through new build, from house purchase or insulation and maintenance, it all contributes to the economy," he said.

"The announcement is welcome news and sets out a roadmap to support hard pressed individuals, families, communities and town centre businesses during these challenging times.

"Myself, my Department and the NI Housing Executive are up to meeting those challenges, whether that is providing affordable housing, taking steps to alleviate fuel poverty or investing in our communities, towns and cities," said the DUP Minister.

"The priorities as identified in the Programme for Government moving forward are delivering 8,000 social and affordable homes, adding double glazing and appropriate thermal installation for all NI Housing Executive properties (representing a further 50,000 homes) and supporting regeneration of our towns and villages and deprived areas by existing departmental programmes and utilising the Social Investment Fund."

Mr McCausland said this impacts on every community, village, town and city across Northern Ireland.

"Supporting these communities to thrive, regenerate and rejuvenate will be my focus and the announcement paves the way for a more positive future."

However, he also warned: "There are a number of challenging targets for the housing sector in this PfG, but they are targets and commitments to be welcomed."


Meanwhile, Alliance Enterprise Spokesperson Trevor Lunn has underlined that the Executive's Economic strategy must indeed help create jobs in the construction sector.

"This is a strong economic strategy and I note the reference made to the construction industry within it. It is very important that the strategy helps create jobs in the construction sector.

"I also believe that the creation of a Green New Deal is key to boosting our construction sector through a home insulation scheme.

"Schemes such as this would also help reduce fuel bills, as well as benefiting the environment. In other countries it is seen as being a key part of the stimulus plans to improve their economies, so I would urge the Executive to put forward our own version.

"I know that Minister understands the critical importance of the construction industry," he added.

"It is key to our wider economy and money invested in construction can have such a massive economic return. It is imperative that we see more employment opportunities in construction to help move the economy forward."


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