Subcontractors: Prompt Payments

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Finance – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 2:15 pm on 8th November 2016.

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Photo of Máirtín Ó Muilleoir Máirtín Ó Muilleoir Sinn Féin 2:15 pm, 8th November 2016

I, too, thank the Member for his supplementary. This issue of payment to subcontractors and those farther down the line has really been in use since the Celtic tiger collapsed and a lot of people were left in the lurch. It has come up on my watch on several occasions, so there are a lot of people concerned about this, especially where public money is being spent. Our purpose when carrying out infrastructural investments is that we get the money paid promptly to the main contractor, but we want that money to be cascaded down through the entire value stream and worker stream of the contract. I want to make sure that that happens. Patsy McGlone had a separate meeting with me as the head of the all-party group on construction, and we touched on this issue and the issue of retentions. The Member will know that it can sometimes be a burden on those farther down the work chain if they are waiting for retention money when it does not really make much sense. So, yes, I think that, with public money, we are good at making sure that we have the right impact and that people are paid promptly, but I am happy to look again at the maintenance side if the Member thinks that we are perhaps not just as efficient as we would like to be in that sector.