The Northern Ireland Independent Retail Trade Association (NIIRTA) has welcomed the publication by DETI Minister Jonathan Bell of ‘Better Regulation: An Action Plan For Reform’ to address the problem of Red Tape on business owners.

NIIRTA Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said: 

“This Action Plan is to be welcomed as it sets out a clear road map to address the ongoing burden of red tape on our members”

The Northern Ireland Independent Retail Trade Association (NIIRTA) has described as ‘welcome news for shoppers’ that Bus and Rail Fares are to be frozen for the rest of 2016.

NIIRTA Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said:

“This is a positive announcement by the DRD which will be welcomed by shoppers who use bus or rail services to and from our town and city centres”

“It is important for our retail sector that we have accessible and affordable public transport and hope this fare freeze will encourage more shoppers to use the bus or train”


From 6 April 2016, under the Tobacco Retailers Act (Northern Ireland) 2014, all retailers of tobacco products in Northern Ireland must be registered.

The new legislation is just one of a range of measures being introduced in order to reduce smoking prevalence amongst children and young people.

A snapshot survey of the membership of Hospitality Ulster has uncovered that the hospitality sector in Northern Ireland is expected to lose up to £16 million in potential revenue over the Easter period.

The survey, which was conducted in partnership with accountancy firm BDO Northern Ireland, demonstrates a significant loss of revenue across pubs, hotels and restaurants during the Easter weekend. The stark findings highlight the impact of our out of date liquor licensing laws at a time when the industry needs to be supported.  

Finance Minister Mervyn Storey and Social Development Minister Lord Morrow today sought views on alternatives to the Small Business Rate Relief Scheme.

The Department of Finance and Personnel commissioned the Ulster University’s Economic Policy Centre (UUEPC) to undertake an evaluation of the Small Business Rate Relief (SBRR) scheme, which was introduced in 2014 at the time of the economic downturn.

The Northern Ireland Independent Retail Trade Association (NIIRTA) has given a welcome to today’s report from the Department of Finance, which sets out some initial thinking on the reform of business rates.

NIIRTA Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said:

“The initial thinking of the review of business rates is moving in the right direction. It is welcome that Minister Storey has accepted some of our proposals, such as Revaluations every three years and greater transparency of the calculations behind that process”

The Northern Ireland Independent Retail Trade Association (NIIRTA) has welcomed the Chancellor’s Budget, particularly its emphasis on reforming business rates and lowering tax on small businesses.

NIIRTA Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said: 

“Overall this is positive budget for small traders with its emphasis on lowering tax, reforming business rates and supporting the next generation of entrepreneurs”

On Business Rates:

In a meeting today with DOE Minister Mark H Durkan, a NIIRTA delegation reinforced its call for a strict Town Centre First approach to all Retail Planning Applications, including any new one at Sprucefield for John Lewis.

NIIRTA Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said: 

“Out-of-town retail development has been a key contributing factor in the decline of our town centres, drawing away trade, resulting in thousands of independent retailers closing and a significant loss of net employment”

Assembly candidates Cllr Carla Lockhart (DUP), Máirtín Ó Muilleoir MLA (Sinn Fein), Cllr Carl McClean (UUP), Cllr Nicola Mallon (SDLP) and Cllr Nuala McAllister (Alliance) went head-to-head on Thursday 10th March at a NIIRTA Candidate Elevator Pitch event at the Europa Hotel.

NIIRTA has been proactive engaging with Assembly candidates, with their Elevator Pitch event being designed to give new first time Assembly candidates an opportunity to sell their economic policies to an audience of local business owners.

Responding to today’s British Retail Consortium report that high Business Rates and the National Living Wage could result in 900,000 fewer retail jobs, NIIRTA has urged the Chancellor to do more to address the high business costs in his Budget on 16th March.

A NIIRTA delegation will be meeting with the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland this Thursday to discuss the Budget.

NIIRTA Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said: