Chamber representatives voice business concerns to Minister Dodds
The Minister for the economy Diane Dodds MLA held a virtual meeting last week with business representatives of Causeway Chamber and the local Member of Parliament Gregory Campbell.
Speaking afterwards Mr. Campbell said "The meeting was requested by Chamber representatives and offered the opportunity for a range of business people to indicate to the Minister the perilous position the local economy will be in if restrictions were to continue beyond the current four week period. That has been my Party's position and it should be obvious now that all of us have to take the necessary precautions to help minimise the spread of the virus while we live and work through it. We cannot allow society to effectively be paralyzed as a result of responses to it. There were those who were arguing for much longer and even more restrictions than we currently have, the position is that Medical and Scientific professionals make recommendations that all five political parties then try to reach agreement on implementing.
It is essential that employees and employers make their views known to parties now so that when the Executive meets to decide on actions, they do so having been fully informed about the consequences when taking what are acknowledged to be, exceptionally difficult decisions.”
David Boyd, Chamber President commented “Our members very much welcomed a meeting with Minister Dodds. We expressed business concerns around the recent restrictions which includes the closure of businesses in the beauty industry and hospitality sector which has had a knock-on effect into their supply chains. Sectors which aren’t formally forced to close are finding that their custom has dropped because of the wider lockdown restrictions, thus impacting on their viability too. Clarity is also required as to whether those sectors like the arts, culture and live entertainment venues who remain closed can avail of this new support. Our economy is an ecosystem. When one sector is damaged, others feel the pain too.
The purpose of our 3 Point Plan which was released earlier this week supported by 22 other business organizations is to keep the Northern Ireland economy open and give businesses the best possible chance to survive and keep employing people whilst simultaneously investing in better communication, compliance and support so that all businesses and social enterprises are as safe as they can be and that we continue to play an important role in combating COVID-19. The coronavirus pandemic is posing a massive threat to people’s health, but the strategy currently being pursued is posing as big a threat to jobs and livelihoods. A ‘rinse and repeat’ plan just won’t work. Continually stopping and restarting large swathes of our economy is simply not sustainable."