A major business group has expressed concern at the uncertainty over the return of fully functioning government at Stormont.

The new 90 MLAs elected are set to have their first day in Parliament Buildings on Monday.

However, the DUP says it will not nominate ministers until the UK government has acted over issues with the Northern Ireland Protocol.

Party leaders are set to meet with Secretary of State Brandon Lewis across the day.

FSB NI said the prospect of lengthy post-election negotiations and uncertainty over the return of the Stormont Executive is causing concern in the business community.

It said this comes at a time when the need for economic policy interventions could not be greater.

Parties have mooted discussing the next Programme for Government and Budget in the interim before the next Executive is formed.

FSB NI said there is an “onus on the next Executive to carry out its activities in a business-like and transparent manner”.

It is urging parties to transform the business rates system, revisit the transfer of corporation tax powers and reduce the tax rate.

It also calls for a flexible skills system that is fit for purpose for small and medium businesses and the implementation of a full childcare strategy.

FSB NI chief Roger Pollen said: “With so much at stake, our priority is to see the formation of a stable Executive which can take decisions that will provide stability for SMEs at a time of rising costs and deep uncertainty.

“We look forward to engaging with Assembly Members to press the need for Stormont to get behind small businesses.

“It is only through effective collaboration that we will begin to see progress on many outstanding economic policies that will help protect jobs and boost prosperity right across Northern Ireland.”