Public sector contracts deliver local economic benefits: Foster

Finance Minister Arlene Foster says public sector procurement is a vital element in supporting the local construction industry and boosting the Northern Ireland economy.

The Minister was visiting the £32million construction site for the Western Health Trust’s new radiotherapy unit at Altnagelvin hospital.

The Minister said: “This significant two-year construction project will not only deliver a radiotherapy unit but during the lifetime of the project it is creating many more opportunities, providing local jobs in the construction industry and spin off economic benefits for local service providers such as shops and cafes.

“While McLaughlin & Harvey Building & Civil Engineering Contractors is the main contractor for the £32million construction project there are supply chain opportunities for local SMEs. This is reflective of the fact that 75% of public sector contracts in Northern Ireland, which amount to more than £2.5 billion annually, go to local businesses.”

Arlene Foster continued: “Over the last year construction output in Northern Ireland has stabilised, and it is encouraging that public sector investment in the industry now stands at 51% of total construction investment. This represents an 11% increase from 2007 levels.”

The Minister concluded: “The investment in this new radiotherapy unit shows the Executive’s ongoing commitment to delivering infrastructure projects that will support the construction sector, improve public services and deliver for the Northern Ireland economy.”