Survey: Cost crisis and political stability biggest election issue for businesses

Businesses in the north west say the cost crisis is their biggest issue heading into the Assembly poll.

THE cost crisis is the biggest issue for businesses heading into the Assembly election, according to a new survey.

Londonderry Chamber said the snapshot poll of more than 50 members put inflation and the cost of doing business top of the priority list ahead of the May 5 vote.

But the business body said political stability also ranked very highly, with 92 per cent of respondents indicating that the lack of a functioning executive in the post-election period would harm their business.

Post-pandemic economic recovery also emerged as a key ask from the survey of north west firms.

Chamber president Aidan O'Kane said the findings 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,” said the chamber boss.

“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.”

Mr O'Kane also called for regional imbalance to be addressed under the next mandate and repeated calls for expansion of Ulster University's Magee campus and the North West Regional College.

“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,” he said.

“This survey should focus the minds of local representatives, showing them that nothing less than a stable, functioning executive will do.”

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