Businesses to be given chance to engage with party leaders ahead of election

L-R: NI Chamber’s Ann McGregor (chief executive), John Healy (president) and Ian Henry (vice-president) launch the ‘5 Leaders; 5 Days’ series. Picture by Darren Kidd
Ryan McAleer

THE leaders of the north’s five main political parties will spell out their policies for business and the economy in a series of events organised by NI Chamber.

Starting with SDLP leader Colum Eastwood on November 25, the business community will be offered the opportunity to engage and scrutinise key issues with senior politicians ahead of the December 12 general election.

Announcing the return of the ‘5 Leaders; 5 Days’ series, NI Chamber president John Healy described the upcoming poll as “a pivotal moment” for both the north and the UK.

“In the two and a half years since we last went to the polls for Westminster elections, everything and nothing has happened in politics,” he said.

“Despite the hard work and success of many businesses, indicators show that the Northern Ireland economy is slowing. Businesses are holding back on investment, concerned about cash-flow and in too many cases, unable to push ahead with growth.”

He said: “If we want the parties to keep the economy at the heart of the political agenda we need to let them know that – loud and clear.

“NI Chamber is hosting its 5 Leaders; 5 Days series of events over the coming weeks so members can do just that. At such a critical juncture, this is an opportunity for people in business to interrogate policy positions and, indeed, to encourage policy makers to explore new initiatives and proposals.

“I would strongly recommend that as many companies as possible use this platform as an opportunity to make their voices heard.”

The first event with Mr Eastwood will takes place at Ulster Bank, Donegall Square East, Belfast on Monday from 9.30-11am.

BT in Belfast will host Sinn Féin’s Michelle O’Neill on Tuesday November 26 (9.30-11am).

Alliance leader Naomi Long will meet with businesses on Monday December 2 (time and venue to be confirmed).

New UUP leader’s event will be held at Pinset Masons, Belfast on Tuesday December 3 (9.30-11am).

Finally, DUP leader Arlene Foster will visit Allstate NI in Belfast on Friday December 6 (10.30am – 12 noon).

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