The Department of Finance has today announced a review of the non-domestic rating system in Northern Ireland.

Launching the review, Sue Gray Permanent Secretary at the Department of Finance said: “In recent years significant changes have taken place in our high streets and town centres. It is critical from a business perspective, as well as a government funding perspective, that our rating system is capable of responding to this wider process of change. That’s why today I am announcing a full and comprehensive review of business rates.

Colin Neill CEO Hospitality Ulster, Julie Galbraith DWF Law Partner, Sue Gray, Department of Finance and Glyn Roberts, CEO Retail NI.

Retail NI and Hospitality Ulster have both welcomed the announcement by the Department of Finance that a comprehensive review of business rates is to be held. The Department of Finance Permanent Secretary Sue Gray made the announcement today at the Retail NI-DWF Local Government conference at Titanic. This Review had been a long-time objective of both Retail NI and Hospitality Ulster.

The Chief Executives of Retail NI and Hospitality Ulster Glyn Roberts and Colin Neill said:

Retail NI has welcomed the Which? study as a major wake up call to Government. The study shows that a transaction charge has been imposed on over 1700 ATM’ across the UK in the first three months of this year and that more is coming.

Retail NI Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said:

“Retail NI is completely opposed to the imposition of these transaction charges. It is blatantly unfair to independent retailers and their customers”

Commenting on the ATM robbery on a Retail NI member on Tully Road, Antrim and the arrests early this morning Retail NI Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said:  

“This is welcome news that at long last we have arrests arising from these robberies. Credit is due to the PSNI officers who made the arrests”

“While we have made progress, yet another independent retailer has to deal with the aftermath of a seriously damaged store”

Retail NI, Hospitality Ulster and Manufacturing NI have welcomed the new political talks to restore the Assembly and other institutions. The three business groups also called for a fourth strand on the economy to include key civic society organisations.

In a joint statement the Chief Executives of the three organisations, Glyn Roberts, Colin Neill and Stephen Kelly said:

You asked and they have delivered, Mash Direct are excited to launch their ecommerce site bringing their award-winning vegetable side dishes direct to your door.

Reacting to the decision of the Competition and Markets Authority to block the proposed merger of Asda and Sainsbury’s, Retail NI Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said:

“This was the right decision by the CMA. From a competition, consumer and supplier perspective, this proposed merger would have been a bad deal”

“Many local suppliers to the grocery sector were extremely concerned that this merger would result in a significant reduction in trade”

“This situation is now beyond critical. It seems that these criminal gangs are now able to strike at will and don’t have any no go areas”

“This is a systematic and calculated attack on our members”

“With the Easter holidays upon us we fully expect more attacks this weekend”

 ‘I have spoken again this afternoon to Assistant Chief Constable Barbara Gray on just how bad this situation now is. She has assured me that the PSNI pulling out all the stops to catch these gangs”

Commenting on the latest ATM robbery in Bushmills early this morning,

Retail NI Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said:

“This is shameless attack on a rural town which was preparing for a busy Easter weekend of locals, visitors and tourists”

“The loss of this ATM means that the local community and tourists will be restricted in accessing cash”

Commenting on the six month extension to Brexit, Retail NI Chief Executive

Glyn Roberts said:

“There will be relief right across the local business community that we are not crashing out of the EU this week. It would have been a complete disaster for our economy”

“Retail NI is very clear that we need to see a deal and this postponement gives the Government and the Labour Party more time to reach an agreement ”