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Retail NI and Hospitality Ulster have urged Department of Finance Officials to drop proposals to hike business rates and car park charges.

The CEOs of both business organisations met with Department of Finance senior officials today to discuss the Northern Ireland Budgetary Outlook 2018-2020 briefing paper, which was launched before Christmas.

In a joint statement Colin Neill and Glyn Roberts said:

Retail NI has welcomed the appointment of Karen Bradley as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and has urged her to hit the ground running to restore devolution.

The business group also wished James Brokenshire a speedy recovery and all the very best for the future.

Retail NI Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said:

“On behalf of Retail NI, I would like to wish James Brokenshire a speedy recovery and every success for the future”

In its New Year Message, Retail NI has described 2017 as a wasted year for local politics and urged the parties to redouble their efforts to re-establish an Executive.

Retail NI Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said:

“2017 was a year of wasted political opportunities for Northern Ireland”

“It is simply beyond belief that we have had an entire calendar year without a Government and with little immediate prospect of an Executive being restored”

“Our members and wider local business community deserve better than this”

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”

Commenting on Inflation reaching 3.1%, Retail NI Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said:

“Inflation reaching 3.1% will be a cause for concern for hard-pressed consumers and retailers as we approach Christmas”

“That being said, the Bank of England and many other economists have said the inflation figure has now peaked and is likely to decrease in the coming months”

Retail NI has welcomed this morning’s Brexit deal in Brussels and urged local political leaders to urgently begin talks to restore the Assembly and Executive.

Retail NI Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said:

“No borders on the island of Ireland or in the Irish Sea were the bottom line in our presentation yesterday to the House of Commons Brexit Select Committee. We are pleased that this is an essential part of this deal”

Hospitality Ulster and Retail NI have today met with Land and Property Services Valuation Commissioner, Alan Bronte to discuss the forthcoming Rates Revaluation.

 

Retail NI Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said:

 

“This was a very useful meeting with the Commissioner as the Rates Revaluation process starts again”

 

“71% of Retail NI members had an increase in their rate bills following the last revaluation in 2015. This cannot be repeated in 2020”

With this year’s Small Business Saturday taking place tomorrow Saturday (2nd December), Retail NI has urged consumers to pull out all the stops to support their local independent retailers and make this year the best yet.

The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, James Brokenshire MP, gave his support for Small Business Saturday when he visited traders on Belmont Road.

The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, James Brokenshire MP said:

Retail NI has expressed disappointment with the decision of the European Commission not to proceed with the Belfast/Derry application for European Capital of Culture.

Retail NI Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said:

“Retail NI is a strong supporter for Belfast and Derry to secure the title of European Capital of Culture. To have achieved this would be a game changer, not just for our two main cities, but also potentially for our wider NI economy”

Retail NI has given its reaction to today’s Budget Speech by the Chancellor.

Retail NI Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said:

“Retail NI has long championed the need for City Deals for Belfast and Derry and we welcome the Chancellor’s green light of negotiations for a Belfast Deal. However we are disappointed and surprised that a City Deal for Derry was not included and will be raising this with the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland”

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