Louise Haigh MP with Hospitality Ulster CEO Colin Neill, Belfast Chamber CEO Simon Hamilton, President Michael Stewart and Retail NI CEO Glyn Roberts

Belfast Chamber, Retail NI and Hospitality Ulster hosted the new Shadow Secretary of State, Louise Haigh MP on a walkabout in Belfast City Centre

The three Chief Executives of Retail NI, Belfast Chamber and Hospitality Ulster, Glyn Roberts, Simon Hamilton and Colin Neill said:

“Our three organisations were pleased to host the new Shadow Secretary of State on her first official visit to Belfast and briefed her on the many challenges facing our members at this time”

Commenting on the ‘Open Ormeau’ plan, Retail NI Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said:

“We need to show imagination and creativity in revitalising our high streets and public places to deal with the impact of Covid-19. In recent years the Ormeau Road has developed an excellent retail and hospitality offer which adds to Belfast as a whole”

“However, following extensive discussions with our members and the broader business community on the Ormeau Road, it is very clear that there is huge concern from them with the ‘Open Ormeau’ proposals”

Retail NI has welcomed the Executive’s £11m for the economic recovery of town and city centres from the impact of Covid-19 and called for a wider regeneration plan for our local high streets.

Retail NI Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said:

“This is a very welcome investment from the Executive in our town and city centres and we are pleased that Ministers have listened to our concerns. However much, much more will be needed to support our high streets as they recover from the impact of Covid-19”

Welcoming today’s decision by the Executive to adopt an initial voluntary approach to the wearing of face coverings in shops, Retail NI Chief Executive Glyn Roberts and Belfast Chamber Chief Executive Simon Hamilton said:

Retail NI and Belfast Chamber met with the First and deputy First Ministers last night to discuss Covid-19, high street recovery and the wearing of face coverings.

Retail NI Chief Executive Glyn Roberts and Belfast Chamber Chief Executive Simon Hamilton said:

“This was a positive meeting with the First and deputy First Ministers at which our two organisations outlined a number of ideas on progressing high street renewal, overall economic recovery and the wearing of face coverings”

Commenting on the closure of Eason’s seven stores, Retail NI Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said:

“This is incredibly sad news for the 144 Eason’s employees and for our high streets as a whole. Eason & Son was a household name and a hugely respected local business, and its closure is a loss to our retail sector”

“It’s not just the loss of the business - it is the reduced footfall for the surrounding traders located beside its seven stores that we also have to factor in”

-          94 areas are in towns and villages across Northern Ireland including Fintona, Kilrea, Lisbellaw and Warrenpoint

-          Full Fibre broadband build programme to reach these areas over the next two years

-          News follows recent announcement that Openreach is recruiting more than 100 apprentice engineers over the coming  months to support the build

Commenting on today’s statement by the Chancellor, Retail NI Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said:

“There are a number of positive measures in this statement such as the Furlough bonus, increased investment in infrastructure and support for our hospitality sector”

“However, there is little in this economic update to boost consumer confidence and to get people spending again in our retail sector. A temporary reduction in the headline rate of VAT would have been helpful in achieving this”

Minister Diane Dodds MLA, Glyn Roberts, Retail NI CEO and Gareth Burnside from Camelot.

Retail NI has launched its Independents’ Day campaign for 2020 with the Economy Minister Diane Dodds. The campaign will again include an online vote to find the people’s favourite independent retailer, local high street, independent retail employee and to recognise a retailer who has gone the extra mile for their customers during Covid-19. Camelot is the keynote supporter of Independents’ Day.

Communities Minister Carál Ní Chuilín has announced the publication of Guidance for Urban Centres and Green Spaces.

The guidance will provide owners and operators of public spaces, including councils and landlords, with information and examples of measures that may be undertaken to adapt and manage public spaces in order to help social distancing.