Trade Influence

NI Chamber publishes business manifesto ahead of UK General Election

30th May 2024

Ahead of polling day in the UK General Election, today (Thursday 30 May) Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce & Industry (NI Chamber) has published a business-led manifesto, prioritising the Westminster-based policy levers which it believes will best support business and economic growth in Northern Ireland.

Created along with Stratagem and developed in partnership with member businesses and trade bodies in a variety of sectors ‘Mission: Business Growth’ will be launched in front of an audience of business and political leaders in Ulster University, Belfast this morning.

The business membership organisation has placed better working with government at the top of the list, recommending a number of practical reforms which it says will help develop a better shared understating of both challenges and strengths.

It has also prioritised a ‘new, ambitious long-term fiscal framework for Northern Ireland, which supports the Executive to stabilise public spending and unlock sustainable economic growth’. NI Chamber has also called for strategic interventions which strengthen Northern Ireland’s competitive proposition including support for dual-market access, tackling the corporation tax question and sector specific asks for high-growth industries such health and life sciences, advanced manufacturing and digital and creative industries.

As well as a series of practical supports, the document calls on government to work with business to tackle near market red tape in trade with Great Britain, Ireland and Europe. With wider geo-political uncertainty, it also asks for greater collaboration between the UK and Europe in meeting common challenges including energy and climate change, health and wellbeing and food security, specifically calling for an ambitious SPS agreement.

With access to people and skills a persistent challenge, the organisation has specific requests for the next government regarding access to international talent and cross-border workers, including an all-island mobility taskforce, reform of the apprenticeship levy and action on tax free childcare.

Speaking about the launch of ‘Mission: Business Growth’ Suzanne Wylie, Chief Executive, NI Chamber said:

“In anticipation of a General Election, NI Chamber has been working hard for many months, to prepare businesses and political leaders both ahead of polling day and for the next government. That has led us to the publication of ‘Mission: Business Growth’ a thoughtfully and constructively curated document prepared with one mission in mind – a prosperous, productive and competitive economy which serves business, society and the next generation better.

“The collective aspiration of business leaders across Northern Ireland is a stable and flourishing economy; one which is sustainability funded and supported by government policies which deliver clarity and certainty for investors and indigenous firms alike. Now more than ever, businesses across all sectors need help to realise their growth potential through policies which match the scale of their own ambition.

“Business wants to play a pivotal role, investing and innovating alongside a UK government which is committed to delivering in partnership. Developed in consultation with our members and partners, our recommendations are designed to incentivise innovation, improve productivity and enhance Northern Ireland’s reputation as a global leader.”

NI Chamber’s business manifesto ‘Mission: Business Growth’ is available to read online now. Its top priorities are detailed under six categories:

A renewed partnership
Better working with government

A new fiscal framework
A new ambitious fiscal framework for Northern Ireland

Building a competitive proposition
Enhancing Northern Ireland’s reputation as a global leader

Growing beyond these shores
Access to international markets

Reducing near market red tape
Easing access to our nearest markets

A workforce and workplace of the future
Creating sustainable working environments