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  • by Karma Loveday

Failure to invest in water is "holding back Northern Ireland development"

Northern Ireland's construction industry has given its starkest warning yet that failure to invest in water infrastructure is holding back development as well as contributing to the recession facing the sector.

This warning from the Construction Employers Federation follows a survey of its members which showed mounting redundancies. Federation managing director, John Armstrong, said that lack of a Stormont Executive and uncertainty about budgets for public works was a significant factor. He highlighted problems over Northern Ireland Water's budget which had a knock-on effect for house building and development in general.

Armstrong said: "The consistent underfunding of Northern Ireland Water has led to a drastic curtailment in much needed wastewater treatment works upgrades right across Northern Ireland.

"There is, consequently, a significant slowdown in the number of new homes being started and completed.

"We and our members find it staggering to the point of absurdity how little political focus there is on fixing this issue given how critical it is to development of all types, not just new homes.”

He added: “Fundamentally, the price control process that Northern Ireland Water is currently engaged in for the period 2021-27 is going to make the situation no better. For as long as its governance and financial model remains as it is, we will continue to face a funding black hole which will make practically all of our collective infrastructure goals unachievable”.

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