Aidan O'Kane: "This election is a seminal opportunity for change, one that must not be missed."
The Derry Chamber of Commerce has warned that a non-functioning Executive after the Assembly elections would be damaging for businesses.
A survey taken by the Chamber revealed that an overwhelming 92 per cent of North West businesses feared the negatives effects to their respective industries that would follow if a new Executive could not be formed.
The DUP's recent pulling down of the last administration gave an indication of the damage that could be done if an Executive was not in place over a full term.
This survey, that was conducted with more than 50 Derry Chamber members revealed the extent of the ongoing cost-of-business crisis was the top-ranked issue for respondents ahead of the Assembly election.
The stability of political institutions and a strong economic recovery post-pandemic were also key asks.
Local issues such as strengthened regional investment and vital improvements in infrastructure along with the expansion of Magee University and workforce development support should be key priorities for the incoming Foyle MLAs.
Speaking ahead of May’s poll, Chamber President Aidan O’Kane called on candidates to help deliver the recovery, reform, and results that North West businesses require.
He said: “These survey results make for stark reading. Costs are skyrocketing, post-pandemic growth stalling, and yet, we are on the cusp of a fresh Stormont impasse.
“Above all else, this election must produce a stable, functioning Executive that supports traders through the ongoing cost-of-business crisis. No ifs, no buts.
“With inflation rife and rising, it is no surprise that business costs are the most important election issue for Chamber members.
“An energy support scheme, rates relief, and workforce assistance are just three measures an incoming Executive could bring forward to support hard-hit businesses.
“For the North West, incoming MLAs must focus in the next mandate on making regional imbalance a thing of the past.
“The potential of our local economy is well-known, and it is only through the continued expansion of Ulster University Magee and North West Regional College that we can continue to create the talent pipeline employers are crying out for.
“Each vote cast on May 5 has the potential to deliver the recovery, reform, and results that each of us want to see for the North West.
“This survey should focus the minds of local representatives, showing them that nothing less than a stable, functioning Executive will do.
“This election is a seminal opportunity for change, one that must not be missed.”
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