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Commenting on the Chancellor’s statement of the expansion of the Job Support Scheme, Retail NI Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said:

“Hopefully, this will give some reassurance to businesses that face likely closure if the Executive moves to a second lockdown. The Chancellor also announced an increase in funding for the Executive to provide further support and we will be engaging with Ministers next week on the detail of this”

Commenting on the new Face Covering regulations, Retail NI Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said:

“Many Retail NI members’ staff have already been wearing face coverings for some time and we will work to ensure there is full compliance following the decision of the Executive”

Commenting on the restrictions on Derry and Strabane, Retail NI Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said:

“These are tough, but sadly necessary restrictions which will hugely impact Derry city centre and Strabane town centre”

“While local retailers in the area will be able to remain open, they will lose vital trade from outside the Council area, given the travel restrictions”

“It is absolutely vital that the Executive urgently brings forward a support package for impacted businesses in Derry and Strabane”

 

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

“This is an unprecedented and welcome intervention in the labour market at a critical time for our economy. The Chancellor has adopted the right approach in targeting support to those businesses and employees who continue to struggle with this pandemic”

‘With many independent retailers facing huge difficulties the Job Support Scheme and other measures in this statement will give them greater certainty for the next six months”

Retail NI has warned that 300 jobs are at risk from local businesses on the Buncrana Road in Derry/Londonderry unless changes are made to the proposed redevelopment plan to facilitate customers getting access to local small retailers and businesses. Traders fear current upgrade plans to the road will restrict passing trade to local businesses.

To avoid this, Retail NI submitted a number of changes to the redevelopment plan - all of which were rejected by Department for Infrastructure officials.

Welcoming the two new Covid-19 support schemes, announced by the Economy Minister to assist high growth SMEs and help retailers to grow online sales, Retail NI Chief

Executive Glyn Roberts said:

“Both schemes are welcome, and we would encourage applicable businesses to apply”

“There is no doubt that Covid-19 has hugely accelerated the demand for online sales and it is now essential that every retailer needs to sell or market their products online”

Commenting on Belfast Chamber’s survey which shows only 5% of office staff have returned to their workplaces, Retail NI Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said:

“It is absolutely vital that the Executive now works with business on a strategy for the safe return of office workers to their place of work. This is crucial, not just for Belfast, but for the economic future of all our major towns and cities in Northern Ireland”

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Retail NI has called for a zero-tolerance approach to verbal and physical abuse of shop workers and called for stiffer penalties for those who assault retail staff. The business group’s call comes as shop workers' trade union USDAW revealed that abuse of staff has doubled during the pandemic.

Retail NI Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said:

Antrim and Newtownabbey Planning Committee will meet today to decide on planning permission for a major 70,000 sqft out of town ASDA Superstore and Petrol Filling Station on existing industrial land in Monkstown Industrial Estate.

Retail NI has urged Councillors to reject the application given the impact it will have on local traders and existing retail jobs in the area, which have not been considered by the applicants or the Council.

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