If Stormont wants save the social fabric of NI and save jobs, it is going to have to sacrifice the funds set aside for its pet projects and focus on what is needed for preserving our way of life…

As the Covid-19 Pandemic continues to spread and government measures to contain the virus are rolled out, it is becoming clear that many businesses in NI will not make it through this crisis in particular SME’s and businesses in the retail and hospitality sectors.

The difficulties in trading in NI are well documented as business struggle with the highest levels of local taxation in the world through the ridiculous business rates system we have here and the literally endless red tape.

The struggles businesses have with high business rates are well documented across the media and following the return of Stormont, many of us were hopeful for change, however, the comments of Conor Murphy that bringing in a 12 Month Business rates exemption like the rest of the UK was unaffordable here in NI, was met my most business people with dismay and frustration.

Every city, town and village across NI, now stands to lose the very hotels, cafes, bars, shops and offices that make the places that they are only to be replaced with vacant business premises and mass unemployment.

But it does not have to be this way, Stormont has access to the funds that will save the NI local economy, but chooses not to redeploy these funds from their pet capital projects.

This is unacceptable, Stormont now needs to place the needs to NI society higher than their flagship projects of both the Assembly and Councils and reallocate the money they have allocated to these projects to support the local business community.

Most people would agree that it would make more sense to save the high street and peoples livelihoods than to build the likes of Casement Park and Trophy office buildings for the local councils.

They have the levers and funds at their disposal to do what is necessary to save the NI economy, should they choose not to intervene, history and the electorate will remember their inaction and incompetence for a very long time to come.

The politicians need to remember we are watching them closer than they have ever been watched before.

Photo by StockSnap is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA

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