The construction industry in Northern Ireland could face job losses of more than 30,000 if cuts to the Assembly’s capital budget were to be approved, the Construction Employers Federation (CEF) has warned.
Although the CEF acknowledged that a budget cut was inevitable, it urged the Finance and Personnel Committee (FPC) to take action to limit its effect on the already hampered building industry.
CEF manager Ciaran Fox revealed that 21,000 construction jobs had been lost in the last two-and-a-half years as he called on ministers to divert funds from the annual revenue budget to ensure the building of major infrastructure projects could continue.
He said: “Our sense is that if the cuts are anywhere near the levels that are being talked of the rate of job loses will continue at least at that level and we are talking about well over 30,000 jobs in total being lost by the end of 2011.”
The spending review by the coalition Government is likely to lead to a £2bn reduction in funding over the next four years, prompting Fox to warn that such measures would hit the building trade harder than any other industry and have implications for the wider economy.
He added: “For every one pound invested in infrastructure there is an economic return of £2.84.”