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L-R: Simon Rimmer, Celebrity Chef; Jack Hamilton, Mash Direct; NFU Mutual – Colin Campbell, Regional Director, Will Torrent, Celebrity Chef

Spicy spuds from Comber, County Down achieved scorching awards success last night in London as fiery export sales won the Quality Food Award for Mash Direct.  Mash Direct’s Chilli Baby Bakes showed that the judges preferred their spuds with a kick, taking home the Quality Food Award at the prestigious award ceremony in Mayfair, London.

In 2016 alone Mash Direct has exported six times as many Chilli Baby Bakes as have been sold in supermarkets at home showing both the innovation of the family farming enterprise as well as reflective our more conservative tastes here.

In a wide-ranging presentation to the Assembly Economy Committee this morning, the Northern Ireland Independent Retail Trade Association (NIIRTA) called for a ‘reboot’ of economic policy in the new Programme for Government and for the Executive to produce a stimulus package to boost the local economy as Brexit approaches.

 NIIRTA Chief Executive Glyn Roberts told the Economy Committee

The Northern Ireland Independent Retail Trade Association (NIIRTA) has welcomed todays vote in the NI Assembly calling for the Minister for Infrastructure to establish a review of on-street Car Parking.

 NIIRTA Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said:

“We welcome the Assembly’s decision to review On-Street Car Parking and look forward to contributing to that review which will be established by the Minister for Infrastructure, Chris Hazzard”

The Northern Ireland Independent Retail Trade Association (NIIRTA) has called upon MLAs to support todays Assembly motion on Car Parking Fines and urged the Minister for Infrastructure to establish a review.

 NIIRTA Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said:

“It is absolutely vital that we make significant changes to Car Parking charges and fines to support the growth of our town centres and high streets”

      Massive value Ulsterbus and Goldline travel deal launched to attract passengers

Translink Ulsterbus and Goldline customers can now enjoy day return travel after 9.30am for the price of a single ticket.  The offer has been announced in time for a busy winter period and aims to reduce the cost of travel in the run up to the end of December (offer valid until 31st December 2016).

Martin Lundy Service Delivery Manager from Belfast said:

Jack Hamilton, Marketing & Export Director, at Mash Direct receiving coveted, Food Manufacturing Company of the Year Trophy from Carol Smillie and the award sponsor

It has been an unstoppable year so far for Comber’s family-run farm, Mash Direct. The company already has over 120 accolades to their name and last night were named Best Food Company in the UK ahead of some of the biggest companies in the UK and Ireland at the Food Manufacture Excellence Awards in London.

The Northern Ireland Independent Retail Trade Association (NIIRTA) has welcomed the decision to approve the third runway at Heathrow as good news for the local retail sector and the Northern Ireland economy as a whole.

NIIRTA Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said:

“This is the right decision for Northern Ireland and the UK economy as a whole, particularly with the approach of Brexit and the need for increased global air connectivity” 

In a joint presentation to the Assembly Finance Committee yesterday, the Northern Ireland Independent Retail Trade Association (NIIRTA) and Hospitality Ulster outlined to MLAs their joint plan for a reformed and targeted Rate Relief Scheme for independent retailers and hospitality businesses.

Hospitality Ulster Chief Executive Colin Neill and NIIRTA Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said:

The Northern Ireland Independent Retail Trade Association (NIIRTA) has welcomed the decision of the Bank of England MPC to cut interest rates to a record low.

NIIRTA Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said:

“The local retail sector will welcome this interest rate cut as it is a boost to household spending power and consumer demand in very uncertain economic times following the referendum” 

Finance Minister with Colin Neill, Hospitality Ulster CEO & Glyn Roberts, NIIRTA CEO

Business Rate Reform is now the top economic issue for the Finance Minister. We need radical reform of business rates and not just small-scale superficial changes.

In the last UK Budget, the Chancellor announced many small retailers and hospitality businesses would now be paying no rates at all alongside a big extension in Small Business Rates Relief Scheme in England.

While the NI Executive has in place a Small Business Rates Relief Scheme, it does not go far enough to help the local businesses that need the most help.

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