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NI quarry group attacks slashed spending

The Quarry Products Association has hit out at Northern Ireland's Department for Regional Development for watering down road surfacing targets in a bid to cut spending.
The department has slashed its target of 35 per cent of the province's local and rural roads being maintained to best practice guidelines to just 10 per cent in the latest review of public administration announced last week.

The QPA is already warning of job losses in the sector as a result of the spending cuts, which has seen road surfacing budgets reduced from £52 million in 2004/05 to just £25 million in 2006/07.

It fears that new councils in Northern Ireland announced in a local government shake-up last week will have to pay for the work.

Regional director Gordon Best said: 'This is a clear indication that the DRD intend to cut maintenance on these roads in order to let the seven new councils pick up the bill in 2009.'

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