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Newry Chamber Calls On Secretary Of State For NI For COVID-19 Business Support & Brexit Clarity

In a meeting with the Secretary of State for NI, Brandon Lewis MP, Newry Chamber of Commerce & Trade has called for greater COVID-19 support for businesses and Brexit clarity.

Speaking after the meeting Emma Mullen-Marmion, President of Newry Chamber of Commerce & Trade said:

“As a business community, we welcomed the opportunity to engage with the Secretary of State at what is a challenging time for businesses in the Greater Newry Area. We face the twin challenges of COVID-19 and Brexit, which are creating real uncertainty and nervousness among our business community about their future.”

“On COVID-19, we highlighted the need for continued Treasury Financial Support for the NI Executive and expressed real concern about the value of the Job Support Scheme. A potential further lockdown will have significant impact on our businesses, particularly the hospitality and retail sectors which are major employers in the Greater Newry Area. The Job Support Scheme, which will replace the Furlough Scheme, will have little value for these sectors and many will face closure without targeted support.”

“The Secretary of State confirmed that the Treasury is looking at extra support measures for areas facing additional lockdown measures and we welcomed that.”

“As a border community, Brexit is a major challenge for our businesses. We stressed to the Secretary of State the urgent need for clarity on the questions businesses still need addressed. Our business community remains concerned that any failure to fully implement the NI Protocol and future divergence between the UK and the EU, will have implications for North-South Trade.”

“The Secretary of State emphasised the UK government’s commitment to fully implement the protocol and protect North-South Trade. With just over two months to go before the end of the transition, we expressed concern about the ability for businesses to be ready and about future trade arrangements.”