Trade NI, the alliance between Hospitality Ulster, Manufacturing NI and Retail NI held the first major business event, ‘Northern Ireland Economy – What Now?’ at the Long Gallery, Stormont today.

The event was held to highlight the urgent and pressing issues felt by the business community, following the restoration of the Assembly, including the need to boost the Northern Ireland economy.

Commenting on Brexit Day, Retail NI Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said:   

“Brexit day should not be about celebration. Instead the focus should be on the hard challenges that lie ahead for Northern Ireland and its economy”

‘It is absolutely vital that the UK secures a free trade agreement with the EU over the next eleven months- a massive challenge given that the average time to conclude a trade deal is four years”

Shopworkers’ trade union Usdaw has responded to Belfast City Council’s consultation on 'Sundays in the City' with an emphatic ‘no’ to longer Sunday trading hours. The union calls on the City Council to engage in an industrial strategy for the retail sector that involves local and national government, retailers and all key stakeholders working together.

In gathering evidence to respond to this consultation, Usdaw’s survey of retail workers found that:

Retail NI has welcomed today’s announcement that Bangor Marine Ltd. has submitted a comprehensive planning application for the development site located at Queen’s Parade and Marine Gardens in Bangor.

Retail NI Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said:   

“This is very welcome news for Bangor town centre. The redevelopment of Queen’s Parade is long overdue and this new application has the potential for much needed regeneration and the economic renewal of the town”

Commenting on last night’s Belfast City Council Planning Committee’s approval of the Tribeca application, Retail NI Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said:

“Retail NI is ambitious for Belfast and we believe that with the right support from Government, a bold new strategy and the correct partnership model, Belfast could be in the Top Ten retail destinations in the UK and Ireland”

Land & Property Services (LPS) has today released draft valuations of all 74,000 businesses in Northern Ireland.

Known as Reval2020 – this process will result in a new non-domestic Valuation List being used to calculate business rate bills from April 2020. This process is about restoring fairness in the rating system by redistributing basically the same rating burden using more up-to-date values. A revaluation is not about collecting more money from businesses, but it is about ensuring that everyone pays their fair share.

In its New Year message, Retail NI has called for a new rebooted NI Assembly and Executive to hit the ground running with a radical plan to address the huge challenges facing the local economy.

Retail NI has also urged the UK Government to listen to the concerns of the Northern Ireland business community have with the Withdrawal Deal.

Retail NI Chief Executive, Glyn Roberts said:

Today, over 75,000 business properties in Northern Ireland will be finding out their updated rates valuations. Land and Property Services will publish today at 11am, a draft schedule of values online where business owners will be able to check their valuation and compare it with similar property types.

Retail NI and leading property consultant Osborne King will be jointly hosting an information seminar on the reval 2020 for independent retailers on 20th January.

Retail NI Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said:

Responding to today’s Queen’s Speech Retail NI Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said:   

“It is to be welcomed that the Government has announced that they are increasing business rates discount from one-third to 50% for independent retailers in England”

“This should be immediately extended to Northern Ireland. Why should independent retailers in England get a 50% rates discount and their Northern Ireland counterparts receive nothing?”

Retail NI has urged Antrim and Newtownabbey Planning Committee to refuse planning permission for a major 70,000sqft out of town ASDA Superstore and Petrol Filling Station on existing industrial land in Monkstown Industrial Estate when they meet to consider it in the New Year, given the impact it will have on local traders and existing retail jobs in the area.