Reacting to today’s announcement of a £17 million support package for ferry operators, Retail NI Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said:

“This is a very welcome development as it is vital that our supply chain from Great Britain continues to operate and provide consumers with food and other vital products”

“Retail NI wholesale and retail members rely on the ferry companies to deliver goods and we hope that this package will ensure continuity of the supply chain for the whole of the Northern Ireland economy”

Glyn Roberts 07515710517

The Chief Executives of Belfast Chamber, Hospitality Ulster and Retail NI have this afternoon spoken with the First Minister and deputy First Minister to discuss the impact of COVID-19 on their members and to urge the Executive to expand the rates holiday for businesses experiencing the greatest impact on trade as a result of the pandemic.

The jobs and livelihoods of thousands of workers and the future of the firms that employ them depends on the extension of the rates holiday for the businesses worst affected by the coronavirus pandemic.  That’s the message that three of Northern Ireland’s leading business groups are sending to the Northern Ireland Executive.

In a joint statement, Retail NI, Hospitality Ulster and Belfast Chamber Chief Executives, Glyn Roberts, Colin Neill and Simon Hamilton said:

See links to useful websites for updates relating to businesses during the Covid-19 crisis:

For the latest NI business advice, support and guidance, go to nibusinessinfo by clicking here 

Guidance on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme can we found on the website by clicking here

Retail NI has urged the NI Executive to adopt a ‘triage approach’ to further measures to support businesses struggling with the Covid-19 crisis.

The call comes after the conclusion of positive discussions on support for businesses such as CBILS (Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme) with the senior leadership of the four main banks. The representative body stressed the need for a speedy turnaround on CBILS applications from small businesses and interest free overdrafts to assist companies experiencing cashflow problems.

While the full impact of Covid-19 has yet to be seen, it is having a significant impact on the Business Community. I want to reassure you that PSNI is well prepared with a range of plans in place which will see people and resources moved to meet demand. 

I encourage you to continue to report crimes, although as the impact of the pandemic increases policing will have to make some difficult decisions so as to maintain a level of service to the public.

Commenting on the Finance Minister’s Executive Budget, Retail NI Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said:

“Retail NI has had extensive discussions with the Department of Finance on the need to restore the Rural ATM Rate Relief Scheme. We are pleased with the Minister’s decision to do just that given the difficulty our members have had with ATM robberies and transaction charges over the past two years”

“We also welcome the reduction in the Regional Rate and the decision to renew the Small Business Rates Relief scheme”

Retail NI has repeated its call for the Northern Ireland Executive to provide Northern Ireland small businesses with the same rate relief that the rest of the UK has received during this crisis.

Retail NI Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said:

Information from the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government

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Retail NI has urged the NI Executive to go much further on supporting local businesses. The business group directly raised a number of issues with the Economy and Education Ministers in telephone calls in the last 24 hours.

Retail NI Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said:

“Independent food retailers are struggling and need help from the Executive to stay open”