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Concern at increase in business failures

27 May, 2004

Sinn Fein Economy Spokesperson, Fermanagh South Tyrone MP Michelle Gildernew MLA has expressed concern at the huge increase in the number of business failures and called for a greater focus on the needs of small and medium enterprises.

Ms Gildernew said:

"Evidence that business failures have increased by a third and bankruptcies by almost 70% so far this year should send shockwaves throughout the Six Counties. This level of business failure and bankruptcy is not sustainable. It highlights an absolute failure in government policy.

"It is particularly worrying that it appears that the small and medium enterprises (SME‚s) sector, that is so important in terms of local economic activity and local jobs which are vital to local communities and rural areas, is facing real difficulties.

"There is been a total failure in dealing with the problems that this increasingly important sector is facing. The increase in retail collapses also highlight a very difficult future for the small business sector unless something is done now.

"Increases in business rates, high energy costs, spiralling insurance premiums, poor planning and a lack of a strategic focus on the needs of this sector have contributed significantly to this worrying trend."ENDS

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