Quarrying industry applauds NI Executive action plan
THE Quarry Products Association Northern Ireland (QPANI) has applauded the Stormont Executive’s action plan and sense of urgency to address the economic downturn facing the Province.
For several months, the Association has lobbied MLAs and Ministers to highlight the severe impact the downturn has had on its members. According to QPANI regional director Gordon Best, the quarry products sector has lost over 800 jobs so far this year and end of year estimates show this could rise to 1500, representing almost 30% of the workforce.
‘We were one of the organizations calling for action by the Executive and the Assembly and now that an action plan has been put together and a sense of urgency established, it is only right that we show our support and roll in behind the Executive and do all that we can to manage and clear a pathway to economic recovery,’ said Mr Best.
QPANI has welcomed the Executive’s commitment to devise a major province-wide plan to tackle the credit crunch, ease PPS 14 Planning restrictions, look at ways to expedite the capital expenditure programme, and delay the Assembly Christmas break to address the economic situation.
Mr Best added that the Association would be bringing other recommendations to the Executive, some of which have been presented, as part of the wider Construction Industry Group, to a number of Assembly committees in recent weeks.
These include reducing regulation costs through the Better Regulation Programme, reducing costs for things that do not add value to companies, addressing the differential in energy costs faced by companies in Northern Ireland, and assistance for businesses in managing their way through the current difficult times.
‘There are difficult times ahead and difficult decisions to make, and things may get worse before they get better, but we have been encouraged by the way the Assembly committee members have listened to the information we have presented and our recommendations on what can be done to alleviate the economic downturn, not just on construction, but also the wider community,’ said Mr Best.