Retail NI & Belfast Chamber Call for Executive to Establish Footfall Fund & 12 Months Rate Relief

Retail NI and Belfast Chamber has urged the Ministers for Finance and Economy to set up a lost footfall fund for town and city centre traders, who are open, but have dramatically lost footfall and trade as result of lockdown.

The two business groups have also called for the Executive to provide a full twelve-month rate relief from 1st April to support struggling traders.

The Chief Executives of Retail NI and Belfast Chamber, Glyn Roberts and Simon Hamilton said:

“There is a growing number of city centre based essential food retailers and other small businesses that are struggling to survive as a result of lost footfall”.

“While these businesses can legally remain open, trade for them has fallen off a cliff and they receive no financial support at all from the Executive. With non-essential retail, hospitality and the vast majority of offices closed, many of our town and city centres are like ghost towns and these businesses will not survive much longer”.

“With restrictions still likely to be with us in some shape or form for some time ahead, the Executive needs to support these businesses who are in this dire situation through no fault of their own”.

“We also want to see the Executive green light further rate relief from April for a year following the similar decision of the UK Government and other devolved Governments. This would give traders across the hardest hit sectors an opportunity to plan out recovery for their businesses over the next twelve months”.

“Cash strapped businesses need that clarification now given that 1st April is less than a month away and we hope that the Finance Minister will confirm this as soon as possible”.