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Builders blame lack of new State projects for dip in starts

Seen & Heard: Tourism sector appeals for €120m in aid

Builders are blaming a slowdown in State projects for a fall off in new starts.

Builders are blaming a slowdown in State projects for a fall off in new starts, according to The Sunday Independent.

The newspaper reports that the new number of new building sites opened in the Republic hit a peak of 230 in June, according to figures compiled by Construction Information Services, which monitors the industry.

However, the organisation reveals that the number of commencements dipped to 184 in September, leaving that month behind the traditionally quiet period of August, when 196 new developments began.

The information services company shows a “significant stall in public sector project commencements during the lockdown and a concerning tapering off in the last few months”.

Construction Industry Federation director of Government relations, Shane Dempsey tells the paper: “This doesn’t augur well for the timely delivery of essential public sector infrastructure projects across the range of sectors such as industrial, medical, residential and education”.

Cash plea

Tourism businesses are set to call for €120 million in Government cash to aid “strategic” projects, along with wage supports, to rescue the coronavirus-decimated industry, says The Sunday Times.

The Tourism Recovery Taskforce is also likely to seek the restoration of the controversial 9 per cent VAT rate to help revive the ailing sector, the newspaper reports.

Tourism Minister, Catherine Martin, is due to bring the a report from the group, whose members include the heads of Tourism Ireland, Fáilte Ireland, along with senior Government officials, to Cabinet this week, The Sunday Times reports.

Anti-competitive practices

The State will pursue insurers after watchdogs found many in the industry engaged in anti-competitive practices, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar warns in the Sunday Business Post.

“We’ll need to follow up on the preliminary finding that a number of insurance companies are engaging in anti-competitive practices and also , the troubling finding from the Central Bank on dual pricing,” Mr Varadkar tells the paper.

“It is up to the insurance companies now to respond to these very serious findings.”

The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission last month found that five motor insurers, a broker and a trade body were engaged in anti-competitive co-operation over a 21-month period during 2015 and 2016.

Revenues boosted

“Consulting” boosted revenues at accountants Deloitte, according to The Sunday Times. The firm reported that revenues rose 7 per cent to €321 million in the 12 months ended May 31st.

Traditional auditing for big clients including AIB, Glanbia, Irish Life and VHI, amounted to just 5 per cent of revenues, the newspaper says.

Consulting and other services for non-audit clients was by far Deloitte’s biggest earner, generating €230 million, or 72 per cent of total revenues.

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