ALLIANCE Assembly member Sean Neeson has said the Treasury must take seriously the threat to small businesses in Northern Ireland from crippling insurance costs.
Mr Neeson, the former Deputy Chair of the Assembly’s Enterprise, Trade and Industry committee, said: “The cost of public liability insurance in Northern Ireland is sending small businesses to the wall, preventing expansion and creating unemployment.
“As costs rise at a rate that is impossible to justify, it is hard to see how such an environment can benefit wealth creation and a more stable economy.
“Some small businesses find it practically impossible to find affordable insurance, and this must be addressed as a matter of extreme urgency. In these circumstances, I would back calls for an emergency ‘fund’ to prevent this crisis getting any worse.
“More insurance companies need to be attracted to Northern Ireland, as competition would help reduce costs, and I would urge the Department to set up an insurance taskforce to take matters forward.
“Small businesses form the backbone of the Northern Ireland economy, so governmental hand-wringing is not longer an option. When a business in East Antrim faces a ten-fold increase in premiums, it is a clear sign that unless we get to grips with this problem now, we will be left picking up the pieces of a ruined economy further down the line.”