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92% of North West businesses would be hit by lack of Executive post-election, new survey reveals

92% of North West businesses have said that the lack of a functioning Executive post-election would harm their business, a new survey has found.

A survey of over 50 Londonderry Chamber members revealed the extent of the ongoing cost-of-business crisis, the top-ranked issue for respondents ahead of the Assembly election. The stability of political institutions and a strong economic recovery post-pandemic were also key asks.

With North West candidates taking to the campaign trail, businesses’ most important local issues include strengthened regional investment and vital improvements in infrastructure. The expansion of Magee University and workforce development support should be key priorities for the incoming local MLAs.

Speaking ahead of May’s poll, Chamber President Aidan O’Kane called on candidates to help deliver the recovery, reform, and results that North West businesses require.

Aidan O’Kane, President of the Londonderry Chamber of Commerce, said:

“These survey results make for stark reading. Costs are skyrocketing, post-pandemic growth stalling, and yet, we are on the cusp of a fresh Stormont impasse. Above all else, this election must produce a stable, functioning Executive that supports traders through the ongoing cost-of-business crisis. No ifs, no buts.

“With inflation rife and rising, it is no surprise that business costs are the most important election issue for Chamber members. An energy support scheme, rates relief, and workforce assistance are just three measures an incoming Executive could bring forward to support hard-hit businesses.

“For the North West, incoming MLAs must focus in the next mandate on making regional imbalance a thing of the past. The potential of our local economy is well-known, and it is only through the continued expansion of Ulster University Magee and North West Regional College that we can continue to create the talent pipeline employers are crying out for.

“Each vote cast on the 5th of May has the potential to deliver the recovery, reform, and results that each of us want to see for the North West. This survey should focus the minds of local representatives, showing them that nothing less than a stable, functioning Executive will do. This election is a seminal opportunity for change, one that must not be missed.”