| 7.8°C Belfast

Investment in building projects is welcomed

A body which represents road builders and other quarrying-related firms has welcomed the reallocation of cash towards construction projects.

Finance Minister Sammy Wilson announced an extra £10m in funding for affordable homes to the Department for Social Development (DSD) and £13.1m to the Department for Regional Development (DRD) for road repairs.

The announcement was part of the October monitoring round, in which departments account for their spending.

The Quarry Products Association Northern Ireland (QPANI) said the funding would help keep jobs and give some hope to the beleaguered construction industry.

Its regional director Gordon Best said: "QPANI recognise that our Executive ministers are constrained financially but we believe that they appreciate the vitally important role that the wider construction industry plays in sustaining the local economy.

"We need to continue to lever every possible penny into activities that create and sustain jobs and give hope to young people.

"The reality is that without investment in infrastructure and a sustainable housing market our young people will face no choice but to seek a career abroad."

A recent Northern Ireland Construction Bulletin revealed construction output has fallen for 12 consecutive quarters and is now nearly 40% below its 2007 peak.

Mr Best added: "We would appeal to our politicians to make rebuilding the construction industry a key priority in the forthcoming Programme for Government.

"We would also call for the publication of our economic strategy, similar to that of Scotland, and in it to put investment in infrastructure and housing top of the list."