Commenting, Carla Lockhart said:
“From the 1st April 2022, the entitlement to use rebated red diesel or rebated biofuels was removed from most sectors, including construction. This was despite the huge increases in costs already being faced across the construction industry, but also in other manufacturing sectors that could use red diesel.
There can be no doubt that this move has increased costs further. This increase is being passed on to the customer, making all forms of construction more expensive. New housing is more expensive. The cost of investment in public infrastructure such as hospitals, social housing, schools, and roads is now higher.
Added to this cost increase we now have HMRC advising companies that a 25% tariff is being added to steel imports coming from GB into Northern Ireland as a result of the Northern Ireland Protocol.
Whilst I have asked the Chancellor to set this tariff aside, if it proceeds it is going to put further pressure on local construction firms and those in manufacturing. From my ongoing engagement with the sector, the message is clear - their costs have rocketed to the point where some are saying clients are baulking at quotes, and simply refusing to take forward investment.
This is disastrous for our local economy and for local employment. Inflationary pressures are putting huge pressures on employers and reducing the spending power of people across the country. The Treasury has the ability to lift some of this pressure, and I would urge them to reverse their decision to remove the rebate on red diesel and some biofuels.”