DOWNPATRICK area Councillor and the SDLP’s local enterprise spokesperson Dermot Curran has spoken out on behalf of local small and medium enterprises and the continual increase in the cost of fuel.
Councillor Curran said, “Each and every day I am speaking with local business people and quite often sole traders who are hovering on the brink of bankruptcy.
“These are decent hardworking individuals who have risked much for the success of their own business. These same people are in dire need of help. I understand that the upward trend in the cost of fuel is outside of central government’s control. However, the spike caused by the Libyan crisis is causing untold hardship and disruption to small businesses in particular. I know of a few cases where the fuel price rises of the last couple of months have wiped out the whole margin these businesses were depending on- this is especially evident for the fishing fleet at Ardglass Harbour.
“A short-term, time-limited stabiliser mechanism, for example, a 1p drop in duty for every 2p rise in the litre price, could provide a breathing space, time to adjust prices to take account of permanent price rises, time to make other cash flow arrangements or do business in less fuel-intensive ways. We may be surprised and this current period of escalating fuel costs could end next week. However many of these businesses might not see that day so it’s imperative that all that can be done is being done.
“It is time that the Tory/LibDem government looked at some of their election pledges and put those words into actions, as it’s evident that whilst in opposition they said one thing but now that they are in Government – it’s a different story.”