Belfast Telegraph

Construction industry drain to Britain 'may be irreversible'

By Nevin Farrell

Construction chiefs in Northern Ireland fear a skills drain to Britain may be irreversible, politicians have heard.

The Assembly's all-party group on construction - where MLAs meet industry leaders - was told that up to 80% of the workload of the top 10 Northern Ireland-based contractors and suppliers is being delivered in Britain. Industry bosses highlighted "significant concerns" over the construction skills migration from Northern Ireland and the fear that workers will not return.

Group chair, SDLP MLA Patsy McGlone, said: "The construction industry is one of the key economic drivers in the north. When they're doing well, the economy is doing well. And yet recently local contractors and workers have taken hit after hit as jobs are shed and capital projects shelved.

"It's more important than ever that the current round of all-party talks result in a favourable outcome for our economy and for industry. A successful and comprehensive outcome must deliver a workable package for the devolution of corporation tax-varying powers.

"That must be a supportive incentive package to help drive capital projects and attract further hi-tech industry to the north."

Belfast Telegraph