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Infrastructure spend 'should be at £100m a year level'

By John Mulgrew

The local economy will continue to fall behind the rest of the UK without investment in infrastructure, an industry body has warned. However, the Quarry Products Association Northern Ireland (QPANI) also claimed that confidence was returning to the construction sector after many difficult years.

Regional director Gordon Best said: "One of my key concerns is the level of investment in Northern Ireland's infrastructure; our sewerage, waterways, modern energy resources and our roads.

"In particular, we need to give a greater priority to the maintenance of our road network, which means securing three to four-year, ringfenced maintenance budgets at a minimum of £100m a year."

Turning to the state of the Northern Irish construction industry in general, the QPANI regional director added: "It's a completely different environment from where we were four to five years ago.

"We're seeing a gradual increase in work - nothing sharp or radical, like we have seen in the past.

"I am also hearing words and phrases such as 'steady', 'more confidence' and 'increased investment'.

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