Belfast Telegraph

So which sectors are set to benefit from cash boost?

By David Elliott

1. Construction - the construction industry has been banging the drum for years now to try and get government to speed up and increase spending on infrastructure.

Constrained spending budgets has meant such a move has been difficult but news this week of the demise of Patton Group amid continued strife in the industry has sharpened focus and helped prompt the promise of £40m worth of spending in this financial year and another £60m over the next two years.

Beleaguered builders have welcomed the news, and the £10m for maintenance of the school estate, while estate agents will be rubbing their hands together at the promise of £10m over the next two years for co-ownership homes, a section of the property market which has been moving fast.

2. Farming - an additional £15m will be available to ensure that farmers receive more money in their Single Farm payment in 2013.

A little bit of hoodwinking on this one as the measure looks suspiciously like the announcement at the start of October when the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development said it wouldn't implement voluntary modulation as planned in 2013 thereby making sure £15m won't be lost from the single farm payment.

The effect, or indeed lack of effect, of this won't be felt by farmers until late autumn 2013.

3. Small businesses - the rate relief scheme is to be extended which will, as the name suggests, be a relief to small businesses which have been enjoying a 20% discount on their rates bill for the last few months.

The Finance Voucher scheme to help SMEs access specialist support sounds suspiciously like the Innovation Voucher scheme already run by Invest NI but more detail on that in the future will explain that scheme further.

4. Jobs - the executive is trying to get people at either end of the working-age spectrum back into work. It's focusing young people on one end of the scale with so-called "waged employment opportunities" for 1,700 young people which will last for a minimum of six months alongside another 900 additional places on the Youth Employment Scheme through Apprenticeships NI.

It's also adding 500 work placements through the Department of Employment and Learning. At the other end of the scale it's also going to get 1,100 over-50s who have been out of work for more than 12 months into paid employment in the voluntary sector.

5. Science and technology - Northern Ireland's companies are crying out for employees qualified in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) so the executive is funding 500 undergraduate places on STEM courses along with 150 STEM PhDs.

The growing weight of the aero engineering sector has also prompted 20 bursaries for Aerospace MSc students.

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