Commenting on the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement, Ann McGregor, Chief Executive, Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NI Chamber) said:
“Businesses will hope that today’s Autumn Statement will provide much needed stability following a period of significant turmoil, but more is needed from the government to build business confidence.
“The Chancellor has a difficult balancing act and whilst taking action to stabilise public finances is needed, greater clarity is still required from the UK government on how it intends to support businesses with future energy costs and drive better growth. From getting to grips with the tight labour market to driving innovation, there is so much more that can be done to provide NI businesses with the support they need to grow and export.
“Time will tell whether the Chancellor’s statement will provide the stability required for the UK economy as a whole. With additional funding for Stormont announced today, the need for an Executive could not be clearer. One in five businesses here are merely covering costs, so as well as taking difficult decisions to balance the fiscal challenges associated with tackling acute pressures facing public services, we need Stormont up and running to support businesses to not just survive, but grow.
“Despite all the challenges and the tough messages in the Chancellor’s statement, we must not forget that Northern Ireland has enormous potential as we transition to a low carbon economy. A functioning Executive could do a lot to unlock that potential by taking action on areas like planning, skills and regulatory reform. The time for that action is now.”