Three-quarters of small building firms in Northern Ireland say that unless politicians end the deadlock in Stormont, the ability of their firm to grow and prosper will be stunted, warns the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) NI.
The research looked into the views of small and medium-sized (SME) construction firms in Northern Ireland. Nearly 60% said that the absence of a devolved Government in NI has already impacted their firm negatively or very negatively. Additionally, 86% said that the absence of a devolved Government in Northern Ireland has already impacted the economy negatively or very negatively.
Gavin McGuire, Director of FMB Northern Ireland, commented: “The ongoing political turmoil in Stormont is seriously undermining our construction industry and the wider economy. We know that it has already had a negative impact on the ability of SME firms to grow and prosper. Worse still, many firms think that the worst is yet to come, with even more predicting a negative impact in the future should this continue. This is a particular shame given that before the collapse we heard positive messages from the relevant Ministers regarding increased investment in homes and infrastructure projects. Any progress that we were making towards a programme of well-targeted capital spending has now been wasted.
“We know that the uncertainty has caused many problems for smaller builders. The most commonly cited issue is a knock-on impact on the wider economy due to the fact that many major construction projects are not being taken forward.
“With Brexit less than a year away, now more than ever we need strong and decisive political leadership that can tackle the considerable headwinds that face our sector. We are already contending with rising material costs, growing skills shortages, and a planning system that continues to hold back housebuilders. We therefore urgently need the political system to return to normality so that our construction firms can plan for the future.”