Fri 9th Jun 2017
NI Chamber comments on General Election Result
Ellvena Graham, President of Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Commenting on the outcome of the General Election, Ellvena Graham, President of Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NI Chamber), said:
“This result has accomplished the unlikely feat of piling more uncertainty on business communities already grappling with a number of issues including a shortage of skilled workers, currency fluctuations, high up-front costs, and the Brexit process.
“In terms of the UK, the speedy formation of a government that can give businesses confidence around both economic management and Brexit negotiations must be the absolute top priority.
“In terms of Northern Ireland, our political parties must now resume talks and come to an agreement whereby government can re-start again. It is now time to put the Northern Ireland economy first.
“Whilst there are many positive developments in the Northern Ireland economy, we also have challenges in terms of long term unemployment; low levels of export compared to other UK regions; a shortage of funding for infrastructure development and a serious shortage of skills.
“We therefore need the Northern Ireland Executive to reform, agree a final Programme for Government, an Economic Strategy and establish a single Northern Ireland action plan on Brexit to address key business concerns.
“It is crucial that whatever agreement is reached with the EU results in no ‘hard’ border with the Republic of Ireland. This would be a major setback in economic, social and political relations between Northern Ireland and its neighbour.
“We also need Northern Ireland’s Westminster MPs to support a City Deal for Belfast, the abolishment of Air Passenger Duty (APD) in Northern Ireland and the reduction of Corporation Tax to support investment.
“Overall, business and government need to work more closely together than ever before, to develop the mutual confidence needed to overcome the challenges posed by the Brexit transition, to unlock the economic potential of Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK, and to seize the opportunities beyond.”