The Quarry Products Association NI who represent the majority of construction material suppliers in Northern Ireland, employing over 5000 people, is urging and encouraging local politicians to go the extra mile and reach agreement on re-establishing a working and sustainable Executive.
Gordon Best, Regional Director QPANI, said: “It is no exaggeration to say that most people in the business community are frustrated at the political vacuum we are in. However, we must do all we can to encourage our politicians to consider the realities and the significant repercussions for jobs and the NI economy for failing to reach agreement on re-establishing the Executive and the Assembly.
“The absence of locally accountable Ministers making decisions, and local MLAs scrutinising them from the Assembly, is already having a devastating effect on people here. As a result of recent decisions on health care cuts, delayed school building projects, new health estate infrastructure and more recently the ending of roads maintenance funding from the end of September our politicians must realise the real impacts on people and local businesses as a result of the ongoing failure to reach political agreement.”
The QPANI recently met with senior officials in the Department of Infrastructure to highlight its concerns regarding the halt in roads maintenance funding.
Added Gordon Best: “We do not doubt the Department of Infrastructure’s commitment to protect the highly skilled workforce that delivers and maintains our road network. We recognise the fact that they can only do what the budget they have will allow them to do. The reality is that without further allocation of funding to maintain our strategically important roads network over 500 skilled jobs could be lost.
“The shortfall in funding for this 2017/18 financial year is around £95 million. That equates to 68,000 lorry loads of asphalt. If you consider the number of workers it takes to manufacture the asphalt, to transport it and to lay it on the roads the numbers above are no exaggeration.
“We believe capital money is there at present due to delays in many construction projects that were due to start this year. We only need an Executive and local Ministers to free it up and get work moving.”