Derry Chamber backs call for urgent financial support for struggling businesses

The Derry Chamber of Commerce has backed the Finance Minister’s call on the UK government to urgently put in place a financial safety net for hospitality and retail businesses affected by the uncertainty surrounding the emerging variant of Omicron.

Anxiety and concerns over the new variant led to a sharp drop in hotel bookings and store footfall, while existing restaurant and bar reservations were canceled.

Across the UK, the public have been urged to ‘prioritize’ social events that ‘matter to them’ during the Christmas season.

House CEO Paul Clancy said the fall in trade, at the traditionally busiest time of the year for many companies, is of deep concern and will have a significant impact on already hard-hit small business owners. .

Mr Clancy says the executive must continue to press the Treasury to put in place a comprehensive financial program that brings businesses back from the brink and recognizes the seriousness of their trading conditions at this time.

Mr Clancy, said: “The increased worries and concerns around the Omicron variant, driven by mixed messages and media briefings from medical advisers and politicians, are now actively harming businesses.

“While we are aware of the need to do everything in our power to reverse the peak of infections expected by Omicron, this cannot and should not be done to the detriment of our hospitality and sales businesses. detail that are already suffering.

“Our stores, pubs, restaurants and hotels cannot be allowed to become the scapegoat.

“Now is the time to provide significant and substantial financial support to our businesses in the North West and Northern Ireland.

“Although we understand that decentralized administrations across the UK, like Stormont, are limited in the finance they can provide, and that Finance Minister Conor Murphy last night called on the Treasury to restore support financial resources, we urge our executive ministers, as a united collective, to put pressure on the UK government and the Treasury to put in place an appropriate financial package that supports our businesses.

“Any extra money, like the £ 75million Northern Ireland received from the Treasury earlier this week, must also be spent on the economy and protecting our businesses.

“Local business owners and small businesses are extremely concerned at this time. Uncertainty and lack of clarity, mixed with public fear about the new variant, leads to a serious drop in trade.

“Christmas is a vital time for all businesses. It is no longer tenable for the government to ignore the plight of the economy. Support must be provided as soon as possible.

“We again urge the public to continue supporting locals and local spending this Christmas, as well as follow all existing Covid protocols, including wearing masks, washing hands and getting your Covid jabs. .

“Supporting local small businesses is more important than ever as they grapple with uncertainty and shrinking trade. “

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