Newry Chamber members held a meeting with Alliance MLAs, Andrew Muir MLA and Patrick Brown MLA at the Canal Court Hotel & Spa on Wednesday 27th July 2022.
The focus of the meeting was the cost-of-living crisis but discussions also included a range of business challenges and opportunities. Meetings with other MLAs & MPs will take place over the coming weeks.
Julie Gibbons, President of Newry Chamber said:
“We welcome the opportunity to engage with political parties. We have a diverse range of members covering multiple sectors. We feel it is important that our members are given a forum to speak directly with elected representatives.”
“We obviously stressed the need for a functioning Executive as the Assembly’s ability to intervene in the cost-of-living crisis is limited at the present time. We saw during the Covid crisis how government could support businesses and consumers with innovative ideas and targeted action. Some businesses are going to need intervention to help them survive.”
“We are already seeing closures in the hospitality trade, in Newry and other places due to raising energy, wages, materials, fuel costs and supply chain issues.”
“Other issues discussed included the skills shortage due to Covid and Brexit, access to labour, infrastructure improvements, Daisy Hill Hospital and medical care provision, housing need and planning reform, disparity between wages and VAT rates, particularly in the hospitality sector between NI and ROI.”
“We thank the Alliance MLAs for meeting our members and we hope to engage further in the future. We have given them a clear view on the issues faced by businesses and their staff. Through continued dialogue we can come up with solutions to address the challenges.”