Commenting on the Chancellor’s Summer Statement, Ann McGregor, Chief Executive of Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NI Chamber), said:
“Businesses will welcome many of the Chancellor’s announcements, although it is likely that the scale of the stimulus needed to help the economy recover will need to be greater still over the coming months. We now look to the NI Executive for clarity on how it plans to use the Barnett consequential revenues in Northern Ireland.
“We look forward to seeing the detail of the job retention bonus to help safeguard jobs for some furloughed staff, but the best way to protect jobs is to reduce the overall cost of employment. Ministers must therefore consider a cut in employer national insurance contributions in the coming months.
“The VAT cut will help firms in the hospitality and tourism sectors working hard to restart after many months of lost revenue.
“Over the coming weeks the Chancellor will also need to address a number of other key concerns – most importantly the impending end of key business loan schemes. Northern Ireland’s corporate indebtedness has risen as a result and it is critical that Government, banks and regulators work together with business communities to find solutions that help viable businesses recover and invest.
“NI Chamber has already suggested a Westminster-funded ‘Business Revival Fund’ that firms can use in any way they need to increase productivity to deal with the fall out of the COVID-19 crisis – may that be to help them change their products/services, invest in new markets or introduce more sustainable practices for example.”