Belfast Telegraph

Dodds defends Executive record on building spending

By Robin Morton

Finance Minister Nigel Dodds has hit back at recent criticism from the construction sector of the Stormont Executive.

Mr Dodds was commenting on calls from a number of bodies, including the Construction Employers Association, for Ministers to do more for the construction industry in the current economic climate.

He acknowledged that the construction sector made a vitally important contribution to the Northern Ireland economy.

“However, I believe that whilst the private housing market is experiencing real difficulties, the local construction industry has benefited significantly from investment by the public sector, which has been continuously increasing,” he added.

“During this financial year alone, it is expected that Government will spend in excess of £1.4bn on infrastructure projects.

“As recently as 2003, Government spending was only £676m. This represents a dramatic increase in expenditure which has only been achievable by the devolved administration recognising the importance of investment in infrastructure and working with the construction industry to deliver.”

Mr Dodds listed a number of public sector schemes which had gone ahead during the current financial year, including the Westlink and M2 road schemes, and the Royal Victoria Hospital Critical Care Unit.

More money had been spent on the Belfast Sewers Project, colleges of further education and school schemes.

Belfast Telegraph