Executive must be ready to support businesses through turbulent winter, says Muir

Alliance Finance Spokesperson Andrew Muir MLA has said the Economy Minister must provide a detailed strategy on how businesses will be supported through an expected turbulent winter period.

Speaking during an Assembly debate on Tuesday, Mr Muir said the strategy published to date “doesn’t cut the mustard”, adding that businesses were now in need of “swift actions, not warm words without meaning.”

He added: “While COVID-19 restrictions remain in place, there are some sectors that won’t be able to trade normally, other sectors whose trading conditions will change dramatically as restrictions are altered in response to public health data as we have seen in Derry City and Strabane, and others sectors, such as the Events sector, which cannot trade at all.

“An economic resilience strategy would provide a small amount of much needed clarity for business owners and employees, and enable the focused and effective response that is required..

“It is also essential that a joint effort is undertaken with the Minister for Finance to obtain the necessary powers and flexibility to enable the largest possible economic intervention to support workers and businesses in Northern Ireland.

“We couldn’t prepare for the summer disruption. The same is not true of the winter where the focus must be upon safeguarding both lives and livelihoods.”