Businesses in Northern Ireland will cease trading tomorrow because of the continuing lack of liability insurance offerings.

Brokers in Northern Ireland said that 1 July renewals were proving a massive headache as there were just a handful of insurers offering cover for liability risks and for some trades there were no markets at all.

Tanya Funston, proprietor of Northern Ireland-based broker FJ Funston, said: "We have people on our books that we just can't get cover for. The construction allied trades are still very difficult. And cover for lots of small traders in manufacturing is proving impossible to place."

Biba has written to its insurer partners asking about their position on Northern Ireland. Biba technical expert Peter Staddon said: "Only two or three are realistically writing business. The ones that are not say that court awards are six to eight times higher in Northern Ireland and that is what puts them off."