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19/04/2024

CEF Meets With Executive Members

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The Construction Employers Federation (CEF) has met with Northern Ireland Executive Ministers to engage directly on the industry's behalf.

During a meeting with the Infrastructure Minister, John O'Dowd MLA said that the Department for Infrastructure is positioning itself as the enabling department within the Executive's ambition for economic growth. The Chairs of the Civil Engineering and Housing Committees, Leo Martin and Martin Mallon shared their experience of the mounting pressures caused by prolonged underfunding of vital infrastructure underpinning thousands of social and affordable homes, commercial investment, transport links and carbon reduction projects.

The opportunity to improve the existing planning system and tailor it to meet its intended purpose was also brought up, and CEF eagerly anticipates continued discussions with the Minister on these and other matters once the Executive finalises its budget allocations for 2024/25.

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CEF also had the opportunity to engage with the Finance Minister Caoimhe Archibald MLA and Economy Minister Conor Murphy MLA. During the discussion, the common theme was the importance of continued collaboration between industry and government in addressing challenges such as funding vital investment in infrastructure, increasing social value and supporting skills development and creation of 'good jobs'. Fionnuala McKenna provided an update on the progress of Construction Futures NI, the company set up by CEF and trades unions to proactively support promotion of construction industry careers and skills development, working closely with the Department for the Economy, CITBNI, the NI Skills Council and the wide range of educational providers.

The NI Assembly's committees have been busy addressing various important issues. CEF recently briefed MLAs on the challenges in the homebuilding sector due to a 60-year low in housing completions in 2023. Our survey revealed that wastewater capacity constraints are holding up the construction of around 8,450 homes, representing nearly £1 billion in investment.



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