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Retail NI Slams NI Budget Briefing Paper as a ‘Non-Starter’

Retail NI has described several elements of the Department of Finance Briefing Paper on the Northern Ireland Budgetary Outlook 2018-2020, which was released yesterday, as completely unacceptable.

Retail NI Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said:

“We fully appreciate the difficult situation the Civil Service is in with no Executive or Assembly to make the key budgetary decisions. It is beyond disappointment that we conclude an entire year without a Government in place”

“However we are completely opposed to several of the revenue-raising options put forward in this paper in relation to the Regional Rate, Small Business Rate Relief Scheme and Car Parking charges”

“To even consider a substantial increase in Business Rates is a non-starter”

“71% of our members had their rates bills increased after the last revaluation and to further increase that burden will result in some of our members closing their businesses”

“What makes this even proposal even more unacceptable, is that the Department of Finance also suggests ending the Small Business Rate Relief Scheme which would be a double whammy for our members and the wider small business sector”

“Retail NI and Hospitality Ulster have tabled proposals to improve the existing Small Business Rates Scheme which we would urge any incoming Finance Minister to urgently consider”

“As if this was not bad enough, the paper also suggests a hike in on-street car parking charges and actually puts forward the idea of extending them to other parts of our towns and cities”

“This would drive shoppers away from our town centres towards the big out- of-town multi nationals with their free car parking”

“Retail NI is utterly opposed to these three revenue proposals and given the economic impact they would have, amazed that they are even included as viable options”

 

Glyn Roberts 07515710517