The new regional chair of the Federation of Small Businesses Northern Ireland Policy Board, Alan Lowry, insists that the FSB is doing, and will continue to do, everything in its power to help all their members keep their businesses solvent and trading in these tough times.
Businesses Under Immense Pressure At The Moment
He is quoted in a recent article in the Irish News where he says that:
“Businesses are under immense pressure at the moment, as are households and other areas of society, so it’s vital we all play our part in bringing forward constructive and realistic proposals to move us forward.
“We have a new incoming government at Westminster with Liz Truss as prime minister and probably a new secretary of state in 48 hours, but still none here at Stormont.
“Clearly, a satisfactory resolution to the challenges arising from the operation of the Northern Ireland Protocol is central to unlocking other political progress, so I look forward to ensuring that the voice of small businesses is a powerful one in the conversations that are needed.”
A Perfect Storm Of Spiralling Energy Costs, Soaring Inflation And Issues Around The Protocol
He added: “We’ll work with whoever we have to as we try to get solutions for micro, small and medium sized businesses as we enter this perfect storm right now of spiralling energy costs, soaring inflation and issues around the protocol.
“People tend to forget that small businesses have had many challenges before, like Brexit and coronavirus. But this energy crisis, the cost of debt, and the cost of living crisis have presented certainly a much bigger challenge than I’ve seen in the last 10 years.”
He went on to say in the article that:
“there’s an awful lot of things beyond energy that is impacting our members. VAT is another real issue, as is national insurance rises coming down the line.
“We’ll not be able to fix everything, but are pressing hard where we can, for instance working with local councils on prompt payment, making sure they pay small businesses on time, because it’s sometimes just about simple things like cash flow, and having enough money at the end of the month to pay your staff or pay your suppliers, that can stop a business from having to close its doors.”
From the noises coming from Westminster it sounds like an announcement will be made very soon regarding a package of measures to alleviate some of the burden of energy price rises on households. And there is likely to be help in the pipeline for businesses, but what form this will take is yet unknown. This help cannot come a moment too soon.