92% of businesses would be hurt by lack of Executive

The Chamber of Commerce has warned 92 per cent of North West businesses would be the lack of a functioning Executive after the Assembly election next month.

By Kevin Mullan
Tuesday, 5th April 2022, 12:01 am

A new survey of over 50 Chamber members has revealed the extent of the ongoing cost-of-business crisis.

This was the top-ranked issue for respondents ahead of the Assembly election. However, the stability of political institutions and a strong economic recovery post-pandemic were also key asks.

Speaking ahead of May’s poll, Chamber President Aidan O’Kane called on candidates to help deliver the recovery, reform, and results that North West businesses require.

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Chamber President Aidan O'Kane

“These survey results make for stark reading. Costs are skyrocketing, post-pandemic growth stalling, and yet, we are on the cusp of a fresh Stormont impasse. Above all else, this election must produce a stable, functioning Executive that supports traders through the ongoing cost-of-business crisis. No ifs, no buts.

“With inflation rife and rising, it is no surprise that business costs are the most important election issue for Chamber members. An energy support scheme, rates relief, and workforce assistance are just three measures an incoming Executive could bring forward to support hard-hit businesses," he said.

Businesses are also keen to see greater regional investment and vital improvements in infrastructure. The expansion of Magee University and workforce development support should be key priorities for the incoming local MLAs, said Mr. O'Kane.

“For the North West, incoming MLAs must focus in the next mandate on making regional imbalance a thing of the past. The potential of our local economy is well-known, and it is only through the continued expansion of Ulster University Magee and North West Regional College that we can continue to create the talent pipeline employers are crying out for.

“Each vote cast on May 5 has the potential to deliver the recovery, reform, and results that each of us want to see for the North West. This survey should focus the minds of local representatives, showing them that nothing less than a stable, functioning Executive will do. This election is a seminal opportunity for change, one that must not be missed.”