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Government must do more for businesses

Published 27/04/2016

The recent closure of McGrath Engineering in Lisburn, with the loss of 122 jobs, raises an important issue.

McGrath's went out of business for reasons cited as underpayment of completed works and disputed final accounts.

The underpayment of firms - often by clients, larger firms and other contractors - is a really serious issue. It drives many perfectly viable businesses out of business.

The human cost of that is seen with many long-serving employees losing their jobs and livelihoods.

I will be making inquiries of the government to see what can be done. I believe we need to have in place some form of emergency firm rescue, backed by a fund for situations like these, to see if firms could be "tided over" until outstanding bills were paid and better trading conditions prevailed.

In addition to providing a tide-over fund, the government could create an insurance platform for firms to guarantee bad debts, between firms, between firms and sub-contractors and between firms and clients.

These are ideas definitely worth exploring, since jobs are often lost because of temporary trading difficulties. It is much easier to save existing jobs than to create new ones.

BRIAN HIGGINSON

Ukip Assembly candidate for Lagan Valley

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