Empowering decision making in Northern Ireland

Empowering decision making in Northern Ireland

Business needs an end to policy paralysis


Since January 2017, there has been no devolved government in Northern Ireland. For businesses this has resulted in policy paralysis where key issues – from infrastructure to skills – have seen little, or no, progress. Decisions must be made that cannot wait until ministers return.


The changes we're calling for


Northern Irish businesses want to see the return of an inclusive devolved government. Until that can be achieved, we’re calling for local civil servants to be given the authority to make the decisions that keep Northern Ireland moving.

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    The return of an inclusive devolved government in Northern Ireland 

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    Progress on economic policy issues  

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    Decisions taken on crucial issues, from significant planning projects to Brexit contingency planning


Why it’s needed


Businesses and the people of Northern Ireland deserve to have access to the basic everyday governance provided in all other UK regions. Without it, local firms are facing unnecessary burdens.

There has been no strong leadership to actively argue for Northern Ireland’s interests in Brexit negotiations – despite the importance of a seamless border with the Republic of Ireland – putting at risk the economic, social and political progress of the past two decades.

Northern Irish firms are currently paying the apprenticeship levy, without any access to training in return. Northern Ireland’s Energy Strategy for 2020-2035 cannot be finalised – crucial to give the industry the clarity needed to invest. And significant energy and transport infrastructure projects – which would help drive productivity and growth – have stalled.

All options must be considered to remove this handbrake on local economic and social progress.

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"The longer this uncertainty presides over local decision making, the greater the risk to jobs and investment. Northern Ireland cannot be left in decision-making limbo indefinitely."

Adrian Doran, CBI NI Vice-Chair

Conducting business in a vacuum

Delays, risks and a growing skills gap

Policy paralysis means Northern Ireland is lagging behind other regions - failing to make progress, losing talent and putting the future in jeopardy. The effects are significant and already rearing their ugly heads.

  • The amount of infrastructure investment at risk due to delays to planning approval.

  • The proportion of CBI members that believe Northern Ireland is experiencing a growing skills shortage.

  • The number of young people forced to leave the region to attend university elsewhere as there is insufficient funds to educate them in Northern Ireland.

Our progress and impact


The CBI campaigns tirelessly on behalf of our members so that business creates prosperity for all. Learn more about the work we do and the impact we are making on this issue.

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Support the change

  1. Are you a business leader?


    Join the CBI

    Our members are our mandate, and the reason we’re the most influential business organisation in the UK. Join the voice of business, and help us campaign to empower decision making in Northern Ireland.

    Find out more
  2. Are you a CBI member?


    Have your say

    Are you one of the many Northern Irish businesses that want to see the return of an inclusive devolved government? Strengthen the CBI position. Share your story.

    Get Involved
  3. Are you a policymaker?


    Make a difference

    This campaign is led by the CBI's Regional Growth team.

    Contact Jim Hubbard, Head of Regional Policy, to find out what business urgently needs to empower decision making in Northern Ireland and how you can support it.

    Contact us