A delegation from the CIF met with Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan TD and Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Brendan Howlin TD in the Department of Finance last evening. The purpose of this meeting was to discuss some of the major issues facing the industry ahead of Budget 2014 and to stress the need for the Government to take measures to help the construction sector.
During the course of the meeting the CIF made a strong case that the construction sector offers the fastest route for the Government to create jobs. The fact that 1 in 4 of the people on the Live Register are former construction workers was stressed and the CIF delegation also pointed out that no other sector can offer such a short turnaround of moving people from the dole queues to the ranks of the employed. The recent CSO statistics that construction employment had jumped by 6,400 between Q1 and Q2 of this year were also highlighted as they underline that a little increase in activity in the construction sector can do in terms of job creation.
The Ministers were both very receptive to this message and they seem to be in complete agreement with the CIF position on this matter.
A range of specific measures were also discussed. These include capital spending, the use of public private partnerships, a temporary reduction in the VAT rate for construction, foreign direct investment demand for construction, the black economy, supporting the renewal of house building activity, the availability of loan and development finance, how the CIF can participate in the process of healing the construction industry’s reputation and other issues.
There was a lengthy discussion about these various issues and others between the Ministers and the CIF delegation.