The situation over the cost of living crisis and high energy bills has become so dire that a new survey has revealed that around 25% of businesses in Northern Ireland believe they may have to close down over the next few months. This is not a particularly surprising response from the business community as they rightly feel that they cannot carry on making losses ad infinitum and there has to be a cut off point where they say enough is enough.
Calls For A Crisis Helpline To Be Set Up
The survey is by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) and following on from this there have been calls for a crisis helpline to be set up so that people have somewhere to go to when they are facing real financial strife.
The UK government of course introduced a range of emergency financial measures on Friday in an effort to get the country back on its feet once more, but there has been a lot of criticism that the measures announced will only help the richest people in society and do nothing to alleviate the real issues that most ordinary people and small businesses face.
A Third Of FSB Members Expect To Downside
Speaking about this sad state of affairs FSB Head of Policy, Neil Hutcheson, was quoted in the Belfast Telegraph as saying:
“We did a survey earlier this month and it found that about a third of our members say they expect to downside in the next year, while one in four said they fear they are in serious risk of closure in the next 12 months. Things are about as serious as they can get,” said Mr Hutcheson, who also warns in today’s Sunday Independent about the impact late payments from public bodies are having on businesses in Northern Ireland.’
There was a protest over the cost of living crisis in Derry and a quote by the city Mayor Sandra Duffy at the protest is also included in the same article, she said that:
“I speak to people every day. I hear the heartache. I hear about the worry in their lives right now. It is frightening. They need help and support now,”
“We should have locally elected ministers in place working together and doing their part, however limited that might be, to put money in people’s pockets, starting with the unlocking of hundreds of millions of pounds which sitting in the Executive bank accounts.”
Urgent action is required if we are to save many businesses which are at the heart of our local communities.