‘Restoring political stability is paramount,’ says business body


RESTORING political stability should be a “primary concern” to help address a litany of pressing issues, says the Northern Ireland Business Alliance.

A partnership between the CBI Northern Ireland, the Center for Competitiveness, IoD NI and the NI Chamber of Commerce, their respective leaders Adrian Doran, Stephen Kingon, Gordon Milligan and Paul Murnaghan have issued a hard-hitting statement challenging the parties that will fight the election of May 5 at Stormont.

They said: “With voters only weeks away from going to the polls, we are once again bombarded with politicking and grandstanding, filling the void left by the collapse of the executive.

“Restoring local government should be the overriding concern, and we simply need to see it up and running again for all of our citizens after the election.

“With key policy decisions now on hold, businesses here are at a disadvantage compared to our neighbors in the rest of the UK and Ireland.

“The worst of the health crisis is now behind us, but the work-from-home guidelines have not been changed in line with the easing of other restrictions. This needs to be updated immediately to align Northern Ireland with the other regions.

They added: ‘It’s not about forcing people back to the workplace – it’s about supporting the businesses in our towns and cities, from cafes to independent retailers who depend on the custom of workers, many of whom disappeared overnight.

“In a world of shrinking labor markets, we also continue to face persistent skills shortages across all sectors and at all levels.

“This needs to be addressed urgently with a focus on revitalizing the economically inactive and removing the cap on funding for higher and further education.

“As an Alliance, we will request meetings with each of the party leaders as we seek to raise the voice of business for the good of all of society.”

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