“Don’t leave businesses behind”, warns FSB NI chief

FSB Northern Ireland has written to the Department for the Economy to request an emergency meeting to help protect micro and small firms
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FSB Northern Ireland has welcomed the Chancellor’s commitment to bring the energy discount scheme to local households but has warned that urgent engagement is needed to address the unprecedented challenges faced by businesses here.

Given the severity of the economic crisis, FSB NI has written to the Department for the Economy to request an emergency meeting with the aim of establishing a taskforce to help protect micro and small firms from the rocketing cost of doing business.

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Roger Pollen, head of FSB NI, said: “Any help with household energy bills is very welcome but the timescales of support remain unclear, and the surging operating costs faced by businesses also need to be addressed. The cost-of-living crisis cannot be solved without solving the cost of doing business crisis.

Roger Pollen, head of FSB Northern IrelandRoger Pollen, head of FSB Northern Ireland
Roger Pollen, head of FSB Northern Ireland

“Business owners across NI continue firefighting against the costs of fuel, utilities, product inputs, labour shortages and tax increases. Recent weeks have seen dozens of small businesses forced to close. Many are under intense financial strain and trying to find ways to manage day to day cash flow. In order to avoid prolonged difficult times, a range of interventions will need to be brought forward imminently. These interventions can only be properly determined through engagement with business in the first instance.

“The UKG holds many of the economic levers which could ease the pressure, but this also requires the development of a plan by local politicians. The absence of a functioning Executive should not absolve Stormont Ministers of the need to take steps to plan for the difficult winter months.

“That is why FSB is calling for the establishment of a working group involving senior officials and business representative organisations to co-ordinate support that will help ease the strain of costs and develop solutions. This cannot be put on hold any longer.”

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