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Wednesday 13 December 2017

Government to approve new €200m stimulus package for building industry

Fiach Kelly and Michael Brennan

THE Government is today set to approve a stimulus package – understood to be as much as €200m and aimed at boosting the beleaguered construction sector.

Projects expected to be part of the plan are new schools and education facilities, roads, upgrades to social housing, and improved communications networks, such as broadband.

Public Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin has co-ordinated the plan across a number of government departments, and the details are expected to be agreed at this morning's Cabinet meeting and announced afterwards.

Sources said the projects in the Departments of Environment and Education are likely to be funded through public-private partnerships, while road projects involving the Department of Transport are likely to directly funded.

It is understood the Department of Communications will also be involved through improved broadband investment. However, health projects under Health Minister James Reilly's department are not expected to be included.

It is understood the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform wrote to various departments in recent weeks asking them to submit lists of capital projects in addition to what had already been planned.

Sources stressed the money will come directly from Exchequer funding, and will be separate from the Strategic Investment Fund, which is taking money from the National Pensions Reserve Fund (NPRF) for an economic stimulus.

"This is Exchequer money, not the NPRF, it is completely separate," one source said. "It is nowhere near the region of a billion, but it will be a couple of hundred million."

Irish Independent

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