Construction surveyors expect public spending cuts to hit hard

The report’s main index – the balance of respondents reporting a change in their workloads – has Northern Ireland at its lowest point since the survey began in 2000 (-75, compared to a GB average figure of -7).

This marked a further decline in construction workloads in Northern Ireland, and at a faster pace, than in the first quarter of the year.

No sector of the Northern Ireland construction industry recorded growth in the second quarter of the year, according to the survey, with most sectors seeing activity falling at a faster rate than in the first quarter.

Respondents cited public spending cuts as a key reason for the further downturn, and they are almost unanimous (balance of -92) that their workloads will decline further in the 12 months ahead.

RICS Northern Ireland spokesman, Jim Sammon said:

"The large public spending cuts are a major factor depressing the local construction market, which is very public sector driven. Whilst the enormous pressure on the public finances means that cuts are unavoidable, the importance of construction spend to the Northern Ireland economy and the need to invest in our infrastructure for long-term competitiveness must be taken into consideration in spending decisions.

"Northern Ireland’s infrastructure has been under-funded for many years, and if we don’t make the necessary investment now, our economy will continue to suffer from this well into the future. Government should be focusing its resources on the areas that will have the most positive impact for the economy and society.

"We strongly believe that it is in the public interest to continue to prioritise public construction spending, both to ensure our society has the infrastructure it needs, and because of the high economic return investment in construction brings."

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