A quarter of Northern Ireland businesses fear 'serious risk' of closing next year

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A quarter of Northern Ireland businesses fear 'serious risk' of closing next year

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A quarter of Northern Ireland businesses believe they will face a ‘significant risk of closure’ in the next year, new research reveals.

The survey, conducted by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) earlier this month, highlights concerns within the business sector about the potential impact of the cost of living crisis.

Yesterday, there were calls for the creation of a “crisis helpline” for people struggling to deal with money worries.

There was also a new request for the DUP to help bring back senior Northern Ireland officials to deal with the current difficulties.

At a protest rally in Delhi over rising costs of living, mayor Sandra Duffy said people were suffering because of the stalemate in Stormont.

“I talk to people every day. , Councilor of Sinn Fein said.

The UK government announced a series of new fiscal measures on Friday in response to the crisis.

These include a reduction in the basic rate of income tax to 19% from next April and the removal of the higher rate of 45% for those earning over £150,000 a year.

The measures also include canceling plans to raise national insurance premiums from November and freezing household and business utility bills.

But despite government interventions that have been criticized as being more aimed at protecting the rich than helping the poor, FSB policy chief Neil Hutcheson said Northern Ireland members were said he fears what lies ahead of his business.

“A survey earlier this month found that about a third of our members expect a downturn in the next year, while one in four are at serious risk of closure within the next 12 months. Mr Hutcheson also warned in today’s Sunday Independent about the impact delays in payments from public authorities could have on businesses in Northern Ireland.

Speaking at a protest yesterday in Delhi, Councilor Duffy said it was important to get Stormont executives back in action.

“Locally elected ministers working together to put money into people’s pockets, starting with unlocking hundreds of millions of pounds in administrative bank accounts, will be able to use their resources, no matter how limited. You have to play your part.

“Every day the DUP supports the government, more workers and families will struggle. We should work on it.”

Sinead Quinn of the Derry Against Fuel Poverty group told the protest that a crisis helpline should be set up to help those in need.

Asking politicians for more, Quinn said up to 25 people lined up outside the Salvation Army center in Delhi last week for help to heat their homes.

“I am calling on all members of the executive branch to come together, even if Stormont is not running, to find all possible interventions, financial or non-financial, and implement them immediately.” she said.

Meanwhile, yesterday thousands of people took part in another protest in Dublin over the rising cost of living.

Parts of Dublin city center were stopped for demonstrations.

The protest was supported by over 30 organizations including trade unions, opposition parties and various community groups.

Eddie Conlon, one of the organizers of the Cost of Living Coalition that coordinated the march, said the demonstration has sparked a reaction from the government and people are struggling to cope with the impact of rising inflation on their daily spending. I hope that

“We hope to put serious pressure on the government to introduce a budget that will help people cope with their living expenses by controlling prices and putting a lot of money in their pockets,” he said. .

“Welfare payments need to be significantly increased, workers need to be paid decent wages, child benefits need to increase, and so do actions related to fuel poverty and fuel allowances.

“I think there are a lot of problems, but the key problem with all these is not just giving people money, but doing something to control prices, especially energy and rent prices. but the government has nothing to control them, the annual increase in rent has been around 10% to 12% for the past few years and nothing from the government to address this. ”​​​​​