O’Toole: Businesses clear on Protocol benefits

economy brexit protocol business matthew o'toole

SDLP Stormont Leader Matthew O’Toole has said that businesses in the North have been clear that they believe the Protocol is creating economic opportunities.

He was speaking after a survey from the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Invest Northern Ireland found that 54% of members believe the Protocol was helping their businesses grow.

Just 29% of members said they did not believe the Protocol was contributing to increased sales.

South Belfast MLA Matthew O’Toole said:

“This survey puts to bed many of the false claims about the Protocol being bad for the North’s economy that have been propagated by some politicians and parties to serve their own ends, and also reiterates the desire of businesses to retain the benefits and to explore the unique opportunities afford to them by the Protocol.

“The SDLP acknowledges there are issues to smooth in terms of moving goods from Britain into NI - an outworking of the hard Brexit that we fought against. We too want to see these issues addressed through constructive engagement between the EU and UK Government that address concerns, while retaining the clear benefits.

“Any agreement on the Protocol will not be impacted by the DUP’s boycott of our institutions or their shouting from the sidelines. They would do well to read the findings of this report – they cannot go against the wishes of the majority of the people and business in the Northern Ireland and cause great economic harm. Given the challenges facing us the last thing we should be doing is throwing away opportunity and making things harder for businesses at what is already an extremely difficult time.

“Throughout the Brexit process we have listened to the concerns of unionists and we want to find solutions that works for businesses. But businesses have also been clear they want to protect the benefits of the Protocol. We cannot see these economic benefits sacrificed at the altar of narrow identity politics.”


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