Construction Industry Federation Warns Regions Are Being Left Behind
A CIF delegation has warned that the West, Midlands and Northwest regions are being left behind in the terms of economic growth, infrastructure and job creation. The CIF delegation met with Ms Marian Harkin Independent MEP from the North West constituency on Monday to chart a path to recovery for these regions.
Western Region Director, Justin Molloy stated,
“The West, Midlands and Northwest regions are still experiencing recession and have yet to see a recovery. Policy-makers need to recognise the economic and social benefits of balanced economic growth across these regions as they provide thousands of jobs and generate significant economic growth. The government must take a number of steps to ensure that these regions are not left behind.
The construction industry is a strong employer in these regions. We are currently employing an additional 1000 people a month across the industry. Significant investment in infrastructure in the regions will generate employment in the construction industry; that in turn will support regional economic growth and in time provide a counter-balance to the rapid disproportionate growth of Dublin. At the moment, the economic gravity of Dublin is leading to young people leaving the regions seek employment and opportunity. In the long-term, if not addressed, these regions could isolated and stagnate.”
The delegation from the CIF Regional Development Policy Committee met with Ms. Marian Harkin, MEP on Monday, 20th June 2016 to discuss a number of issues impacting on the construction industry in the region.
Molloy continued, “We met with Marian Harkin to discuss how the EU can support regional development and how current Government policy needs to be changed to generate economic growth in the regions. The CIF discussed the issue of access to development finance for the contractors who would build infrastructure and housing in the area. The Central Bank has shown that lending rates to construction SMEs are significantly above the average and the highest amongst sector in the Irish economy. Without access to finance, regional contractors cannot build so they cannot employ people and this is a huge missed opportunity and represents a threat to the long-term viability of these regions.
In addition, we discussed the issue of the duration of the planning process relating to housebuilding and infrastructure projects. Streamlining the planning process can significantly reduce the cost of building. This will make it viable for contractors to build again. Finally, we highlighted an issue where we believe that EU guidelines to the Irish Government designed to ensure that SMEs contractors can tender for public procurement contracts needs to be addressed. Providing this access will help SMEs in the region grow and ultimately hire more people.”