Northern Ireland

Almost half of micro and small businesses in NI face closure in 2023 without government help

Michael McQuillan, Enterprise NI chief executive.
Michael McQuillan, Enterprise NI chief executive.

Almost half of micro and small businesses in Northern Ireland could face closure next year if they don't receive government help, a new survey has found.

Around 47 per cent of respondents to the Enterprise NI survey stated that they will not survive the next 12 months without the right support in place while 95 per cent reported that their utilities and fuel costs have risen sharply throughout 2022.

One in 10 reported severe cash flow pressures. Economic growth is now slowing, with only 36 per cent of businesses expecting to grow in 2023. This is compared to more than 50 per cent at the beginning of 2022. More significantly, the number of respondents who expect their business to contract in the next year has doubled from 18 per cent to 36 per cent.

Michael McQuillan, Enterprise NI Chief Executive, said the results present "a concerning snapshot of our local economy".

"As illustrated in these results, the current economic and fiscal environment is extremely challenging for small and micro businesses, from all sectors, across Northern Ireland," he said.

"Macro-level events and challenges like the war in Ukraine and the global economic downturn are placing serious pressures on local businesses, combined with local political instability and uncertainty over post-Brexit funding.

"The rising cost-of-doing-business is having a severe impact on our local entrepreneurs. Without significant action in the coming weeks and months, businesses will go to the wall. In the absence of an Executive at Stormont, it’s crucial that the UK Government now steps in to protect the backbone of the Northern Irish economy and protect businesses, jobs, and households as we enter 2023."