Election manages ‘unlikely feat’ of creating more business uncertainty in North

Politicians urged to ‘act responsibly’ and ‘get their house in order’

British newspapers display in London on Friday  Photograph: EPA

British newspapers display in London on Friday Photograph: EPA

 

The UK election result has “accomplished the unlikely feat of piling more uncertainty on business communities,” one senior business leader in the North said on Friday.

Ellvena Graham, the former head of Ulster Bank in the North and chairman of ESB said firms already battling against issues including a shortage of skilled workers, currency fluctuations, high costs and Brexit, will now be even more anxious.

“In terms of the UK, the speedy formation of a government that can give businesses confidence around both economic management and Brexit negotiations must be the absolute top priority,” said Ms Graham, who was recently appointed president of the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce.

“In terms of Northern Ireland, our political parties must now resume talks and come to an agreement whereby government can re-start again. It is now time to put the Northern Ireland economy first,” she added.

The head of another major business body is also calling for local political leaders to “get their house in order” and to “act responsibly”.

Safe destinations

Angela McGowan, CBI Northern Ireland director, also said it was time to show the world that all of parts of the UK are safe destinations for business.

“ It’s time to put the economy back to the top of the agenda where it belongs,” Ms McGowan said, adding that the North’s special circumstances must be at the centre of any Brexit discussions if the North is to succeed following the UK’s divorce from the EU.

“We will need our locally elected political representatives in Westminster to articulate our economic needs and ambitions very clearly. A hard Brexit would not work for Northern Ireland’s business and agricultural community; we may now have a one-off opportunity to ensure that it does not happen in an economically destructive way”.