Retail NI has described as ‘outrageous’ that over 150,000 Parking and Bus Lane fines were issued in 2017. Car parking fines increased by 15% in 2017.

The Department for Infrastructure published the figures today.

Retail NI Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said:

”These statistics are simply staggering”

“Over 150,000 parking and bus lane fines handed out to motorists in our town and city centres is having a clear and negative impact on shoppers and our members”

2018 sees the Arcadia Delicatessen realise a significant milestone as the third generation family business celebrates 85 years of trading from the same unit on Belfast's Lisburn Road. It is the oldest retail business still in existence on the popular South Belfast shopping street.

The three CEOs and the Shadow Secretary of State Owen Smith MP at a recent meeting

As political talks to restore the Assembly and Executive are reconvened today, the business groups representing three of Northern Ireland’s largest sectors of industry, Retail, Hospitality and Manufacturing have urged the political parties and two Governments to go the extra mile to restore power sharing.

The Chief Executives of Retail NI, Hospitality Ulster and Manufacturing NI, Glyn Roberts, Colin Neill and Stephen Kelly said:

“We wish the political parties and two governments every success as the political talks are reconvened today”

Retail NI has strongly welcomed today’s decision to grant planning approval for the North-South Electricity Interconnector.

Retail NI Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said:

“This is excellent news for our economy as it is a investment in the future of our energy infrastructure, securing electricity supply and in the longer term, lower energy bills for our members”

“Retail NI had provided written and oral evidence at last year’s Planning Appeals hearing in favour of the application”

As the next phase of the talks to restore devolution begin tomorrow, it is hard to believe that we have had no effective Government for over a year. The business community deserve a lot better than a year of care and maintenance by civil servants and emergency budgets from Westminster.

Retail NI and Hospitality Ulster have urged Department of Finance Officials to drop proposals to hike business rates and car park charges.

The CEOs of both business organisations met with Department of Finance senior officials today to discuss the Northern Ireland Budgetary Outlook 2018-2020 briefing paper, which was launched before Christmas.

In a joint statement Colin Neill and Glyn Roberts said:

Retail NI has welcomed the appointment of Karen Bradley as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and has urged her to hit the ground running to restore devolution.

The business group also wished James Brokenshire a speedy recovery and all the very best for the future.

Retail NI Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said:

“On behalf of Retail NI, I would like to wish James Brokenshire a speedy recovery and every success for the future”

In its New Year Message, Retail NI has described 2017 as a wasted year for local politics and urged the parties to redouble their efforts to re-establish an Executive.

Retail NI Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said:

“2017 was a year of wasted political opportunities for Northern Ireland”

“It is simply beyond belief that we have had an entire calendar year without a Government and with little immediate prospect of an Executive being restored”

“Our members and wider local business community deserve better than this”

Retail NI has described several elements of the Department of Finance Briefing Paper on the Northern Ireland Budgetary Outlook 2018-2020, which was released yesterday, as completely unacceptable.

Retail NI Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said:

“We fully appreciate the difficult situation the Civil Service is in with no Executive or Assembly to make the key budgetary decisions. It is beyond disappointment that we conclude an entire year without a Government in place”

Commenting on Inflation reaching 3.1%, Retail NI Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said:

“Inflation reaching 3.1% will be a cause for concern for hard-pressed consumers and retailers as we approach Christmas”

“That being said, the Bank of England and many other economists have said the inflation figure has now peaked and is likely to decrease in the coming months”