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Northern Ireland investing in construction sector - official

Figures show Northern Ireland’s construction industry is being propped up by record levels of government spending on infrastructure projects.

The government is doing its bit to support the industry during the recession by implementing £1M a day of extra executive spending on projects such as roads and schools.

The latest quarterly figures from the Northern Ireland Construction Bulletin show the value of construction industry output was down 1.8% in the first three months of 2009 compared to the previous quarter and 5.4% down on the previous year.

But finance minister Sammy Wilson said that although output is poor, it would have been significantly worse if the government had not increased ministerial spending.

Wilson said: “The Executive is very aware of the impact this is having on local construction firms and their suppliers, many of whom are small and medium sized enterprises.”

The minister’s commitment to the roll-out of the Executive’s Investment Strategy has been supported by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors Northern Ireland.

But director Ben Collins said: “There is significant concern in the industry that the level of investment being announced is not consistent with the experiences of firms on the ground.”

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