Finance Minister Arlene Foster MLA today announced the start of a consultation period as part of her Department’s Review of Business Rates in Northern Ireland.

The consultation period will last for a period of twelve weeks, during which stakeholders will be invited to provide input on the future direction of business rates in Northern Ireland. The review will also seek views on alternative forms of taxation as either replacements or supplements to the existing rating system.

The Northern Ireland Independent Retail Trade Association (NIIRTA) has welcomed today’s announcement of a review of Business Rates by DFP Minister Arlene Foster.

NIIRTA Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said:

“NIIRTA has long been calling for a fundamental review of Business Rates and so we welcome this announcement by Minister Foster”

The Northern Ireland Independent Retail Trade Association (NIIRTA) has welcomed the announcement that Royal Portrush will host the 2019 Open, describing it as a big potential boost for the local retail and hospitality sectors.

NIIRTA Chief Executive said:

“This is fantastic news for Northern Ireland and it will be a huge potential boost for our local retail and hospitality sectors with so many visitors"

Northern Ireland’s retail sector is the region’s largest employer, and its leading figures will be celebrating a year of unique successes at the industry’s premier awards ceremony this Friday.

Convenience stores and supermarkets employ some 12 per cent of the entire workforce in NI, representing 14 per cent of all VAT registered companies here, providing enormous tax revenue to the exchequer.

Commenting on the closure of five B&Q stores in Ballymena, Boucher Road, Derry, Sprucefield and Craigavon, NIIRTA Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said:

“It is alarming to see the loss of so many retail jobs in one day. Our thoughts are with the 300 workers and their families at this difficult time and we hope that they will be successful in finding alternative employment”

“The closure of these five stores has a much wider impact as it also results in the loss of footfall for surrounding retailers”

The Northern Ireland Independent Retail Trade Association (NIIRTA) has welcomed the publication of the new Strategic Planning Policy Statement, which includes for the first time a new Town Centre First Retail Planning Policy.

DOE Minister Mark H Durkan MLA published the policy statement in a written statement to the Assembly today. The new policy incorporates the old draft PPS 5.

NIIRTA Chief Executive Glyn Roberts who met with Minister Durkan today, said:

Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful in association with Coca-Cola HBC Northern Ireland has launched the Coast Care Awards for the sixth year in Northern Ireland.  These awards are designed to acknowledge the excellent work of individuals and groups working throughout the year in the Coast Care Programme, so if you work with or know of a group that deserves an award for the work carried out on a coastal or inland waterway project.

Speakers from Twitter, Google and Mobile World Congress coming to Belfast 

Northern Ireland’s most impactful digital technology conference has teamed up with NIIRTA to announce its programme of events for 2015.

Taking place in October & November, Digital DNA is a series of events that promotes the benefits of technology to businesses in Northern Ireland with the aim of helping them grow locally and internationally. 

The Northern Ireland Independent Retail Trade Association (NIIRTA) has strongly welcomed Belfast City Council's new City Centre Regeneration and Investment Strategy which was published this morning.

NIIRTA Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said:

"A strong and vibrant Belfast City Centre is of vital importance to the economy of Northern Ireland as a whole, sustaining thousands of retail and service sector jobs. The City Centre has a 20% vacancy rate which is nearly double the UK average and urgent action is needed to address this challenge"

The Northern Ireland Independent Retail Trade Association (NIIRTA) has warned MLAs that escalating business costs such as Rates, Living Wage and Red Tape is in danger of slowing Northern Ireland’s economic recovery. 

NIIRTA’s call comes as it launched its #CutTheBizCost campaign and published their Fifteen Point Plan to address high business cost at a roundtable meeting of retailers and MLAs and also at a meeting with Finance Minister and First Minister.

Property experts Osborne King supported the roundtable event.