Following the publication of the latest UK inflation figures with CPI remaining static at 8.7% and core inflation rising by 7.1%, Alan Lowry, FSB`s NI Policy Chair, said:
“What the Bank of England does next after the publication of the latest inflation figures will be a cause for concern for small businesses across the country. Higher interest rates increase the cost of doing business. The cost of borrowing has rocketed and will stunt the potential for expansion and growth. Now is a time for moderation from the Bank of England, otherwise a jump in already high interest rates will inflict more pain on already hard-pressed businesses in Northern Ireland.
“Businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors here don`t benefit from the 75% discount on rates which their counterparts in England and Wales can avail of, so they face a double whammy of pain – increased interest rates alongside lower rates of government support. FSB National Chair, Martin McTague has stated that ‘policymakers need to give small firms an olive branch to navigate these difficult times by taking steps to keep finance flowing’. I hope that policymakers can take that advice, but regrettably I`m not optimistic that will happen.
“It is also vital that the Northern Ireland Executive is restored because without it, measures such as the 75% discount on business rates for the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors, will remain a pipedream. We urgently need local politicians and policymakers back in government making local decisions to help Northern Ireland`s business community. The right policies and government support in place would help small businesses navigate a plethora of challenges.”
As experts in business, FSB offers members a wide range of vital business services, including advice, financial expertise, support and a powerful voice in Government. Its aim is to help smaller businesses achieve their ambitions.