Small business survey paints 'bleak picture' says MLA

Small and micro businesses in Northern Ireland are at breaking point and need urgent support to survive, an East Antrim MLA has claimed.

Alliance’s Stewart Dickson was speaking after the annual Enterprise NI survey indicated that almost half of small and micro businesses in the province will face closure in the next 12 months, if support is not made available.

Over 600 businesses responded to the Enterprise NI Barometer. An annual survey of micro and small businesses, it captures data, opinions, needs and proposed solutions of small, micro and self-employed businesses.

Mr Dickson said: "The results from the survey paint a bleak picture of our local economy. Many businesses are operating on a knife edge. They are calling out for financial support, but they are also calling for political stability.

Larne business and community organisations met with elected representatives in October.

“They really need all the help they can get as we move into the Christmas period.

"It’s the continued uncertainty that will be detrimental to businesses. Over the last few years, survival for businesses has been about coping with uncertainty, but now many are suggesting they are worse off than they were during the pandemic. Without sustained growth and financial assistance, the cost of doing business simply isn't sustainable."

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Last month elected representatives met with Larne organisations concerned about the energy and cost of doing business crisis. It followed earlier talks Larne Area Business Community group held with businesses, charities, churches, care groups, schools and other sectors which are being adversely affected in the current economic climate. The group called on “all political leaders to urgently create the circumstances where an Executive can be formed”.