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Black market thrives

THE BLACK economy has soared ahead in the home improvement sector, putting thousands of professionals into receivership.

A new survey has revealed that 84pc of small builders and tradesmen have noticed an increased demand for 'nixers' or 'cash-only' prices for their projects.

And 13pc of the 6,400 interviewed said that they anticipate going out of business this year.

The survey, taken by the professional network Onlinetradesmen.ie as part of their outlook for the Irish trade sector, found that registered trade professionals with overheads such as insurance, VAT and taxes are struggling to compete with non-compliant operators.