£32m boon for SMEs

Finance Minister Arlene Foster says the £32m radiotherapy unit at Altnagelvin presents significant supply chain opportunities for small businesses pointing out that 75 per cent of public sector contracts in Northern Ireland go to local firms.

Although Belfast firm McLaughlin and Harvey is the main contractor for the project Mrs Foster said there is plenty of opportunity for Londonderry firms.

During a visit to the site with Foyle MLA Gary Middleton, she 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.

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“While McLaughlin and Harvey Building and 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 per cent of public sector contracts in Northern Ireland, which amount to more than £2.5 billion annually, go to local businesses.”

She 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 per cent of total construction investment. This represents an 11 per cent 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.”

Construction works at the radiotherapy unit are due to complete in the summer of 2016.