The Ulster Unionist Party has held discussions with a delegation from business and civic society regarding the political situation at both Stormont and Westminster in light of the calling of a snap General Election. The Ulster Unionist group was led by Party Leader Robin Swann MLA, Finance Spokesperson Steve Aiken MLA and Economy Spokesperson Alan Chambers MLA.
Alan Chambers MLA said:
"This was a very useful meeting to gauge the mood in the business and community sectors. We have been left in no doubt about the strength of feeling in civic society and we share their frustrations at the ongoing failure to establish the Assembly with a working Executive. We want to get back to work and we fully recognise the dangers of a prolonged period of rudderless rule by officials in the absence of a fully functioning Stormont. We understand that uncertainty over budgets and continual political crisis has a negative effect on business confidence and hampers efforts to attract foreign direct investment.
"The Ulster Unionist Party wants Stormont to work and for all elected MLAs to get back to work. A Westminster Election will unavoidably dominate politics over the next few weeks, but we will continue to listen to helpful and constructive voices in the business and community sectors who share our desire for stability, locally accountable government and growing the Northern Ireland economy."
The group representing business and civic society who signed last week's open letter to local politicians consisted of Iain Hoy of the CBI, Roger Pollen of the FSB, Chris Morrow of the NI Chamber of Commerce, Seamus McAleavey of NICVA and Glyn Roberts of Retail NI.