Diane Dodds: Returning to lockdown would destroy businesses

Returning to lockdown to combat the spiralling coronavirus infection rate would destroy businesses, Northern Ireland’s economy minister has said.
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Diane Dodds said fresh, draconian measures would compound the challenges facing firms, costing jobs and impacting families.

She added: “The Northern Ireland economy cannot afford another lockdown. Those small shoots of recovery we are seeing would be destroyed.”

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Pubs that do not serve food are allowed to reopen from Wednesday, having been shut since March.

Economy Minister Diane DoddsEconomy Minister Diane Dodds
Economy Minister Diane Dodds

The minister, addressing her scrutiny committee at Stormont, said: “Even the fear alone of another lockdown would remove any lingering hopes businesses have of economic recovery.

“This is costing jobs and impacting on families.”

Ms Dodds said she was pushing for more support for small businesses and the manufacturing sector.

She added that has informed her ministerial colleagues about the gaps that exist.

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“None of this is easy,” she said. “Very difficult decisions will have to be taken.

“These are tough times, probably the toughest times many of our business owners have ever faced.”


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