Trade NI, the Alliance of Hospitality Ulster, Manufacturing NI and Retail NI has warned the NI Executive to avoid a lockdown scenario, saying that it will cripple Northern Ireland’s economy and potentially set it back decades.
The group makes up the three biggest sectors of industry and the majority of businesses in Northern Ireland, employing around 300,000 people collectively.
In a joint statement the Chief Executives of the Trade NI group – Stephen Kelly (Manufacturing NI), Colin Neill (Hospitality Ulster) and Glyn Roberts (Retail NI) commented:
“We recognise that the challenge facing the NI Executive is immense as they work to try to navigate a safe way suppress the spread of Covid-19. The current support offer for businesses from Westminster and Stormont doesn’t come close to what is needed to protect jobs; those who are required to self-isolate; and support businesses in the event of a second lockdown.”
“The risk is that it will cause economic devastation, resulting in tens of thousands of job losses which will have a huge impact on communities.”
“No effective help is being offered to those businesses that will be forced to close as a result of a loss of trade, footfall and consumers, nor those who will lose their incomes over these difficult winter months.”
“The viability of business is important to keep people in work at a time when the unemployment count in the last six months has doubled. If predictions are correct, we could expect a further 40,000 redundancies before Christmas, potentially more.”
“As an alliance made up of the three largest sectors of industry and the majority of businesses in Northern Ireland, collectively we see first-hand the anxiety and fear in so many who have put everything into their businesses and who are frightened for the future and for the livelihoods of the people they employ.”