72% of businesses around Derry expect to grow in 2021 despite Covid and Brexit

  • A new survey from Londonderry Chamber shows increased optimism for the year ahead despite the Covid-19 pandemic and Brexit challenges.

    A surprising 72% of surveyed business owners based in the North West have said they are confident that their business can grow in 2021. The survey of Londonderry Chamber members was carried out recently to assess the region's prospects in the face of the ongoing economic impact of Covid-19 and Brexit.

    Northern Ireland has been impacted by trade border arrangements that came into effect on January 1st this year, causing disruption to supply chains and deliveries. This disruption has hit right in the middle of the pandemic and has caused significant issues with some companies in the region.

    RELATED: 81% of businesses in Derry and Donegal are on a hiring freeze for 2021

    Respondents to the survey identified significant supply chain difficulties with post-Brexit trade arrangements, including increased paperwork and financial barriers to trade. There has been some cause for optimism that the situation could work out for NI if these issues can be solved, however. 

    Invest NI has recently begun promoting Northern Ireland's unique position in the EU as a major benefit to foreign companies, noting that it's currently the only place in the world that has free trade access with both the EU and Great Britain. 

    Businesses surveyed overwhelmingly called for the extension of the UK furlough scheme into the second half of 2021 to help support businesses as they get back on their feet. They also called for greater flexibility in NI business grant criteria, and for the rules on CBILS loans to be relaxed.

    RELATED: Derry Mayor praises Allstate NI for resilience during COVID-19

    Dawn McLaughlin, Londonderry Chamber President, commented: "These survey results are a cause for optimism after a tough 12 months. With nearly 8 in 10 businesses being impacted by restrictions, businesses in the North West are still reeling from the effects of lockdown. The Executive must now produce a workable, strategic economic recovery plan, to ensure that the current lockdown is the last of significant restrictions imposed on businesses."

    Source: Written based on press release

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