Local infrastructure bodies are feeling increasingly pessimistic about their prospects over the coming quarter, new figures indicate.
The local infrastructure body Navca has assembled a representative panel of about 30 members who take part in quarterly surveys designed to give a snapshot of the mood among the organisations it represents.
The results from the latest survey show that 31 per cent of respondents view their organisations' prospects in the coming quarter – compared with the previous one – as "slightly" or "much worse". The same figures were 24 per cent in the previous survey and 19 per cent six months ago.
Twenty-four per cent of those polled in the most recent survey, carried out last month, say the situation would be "slightly improved" or "much improved", and just under 45 per cent forecast no change at all.
The proportion of those who say they will reduce the number of paid staff in the coming quarter has increased from 28 per cent in October to 41 per cent last month.
Asked about the financial prospects of their organisation, 79 per cent of panel members say that the situation will get worse during the next quarter, a slight increase on the previous two quarters.
The top three issues highlighted by respondents for the coming quarter are increased workload, finding ways to increase income and competition from other service providers. Increased workload was also the top concern in the previous quarter.
"It is not good to see our members feeling less optimistic," said Joe Irvin, chief executive of Navca. "However, this is perfectly understandable because they are working in a really tough funding environment."