Retail NI has expressed disappointment with the decision of the European Commission not to proceed with the Belfast/Derry application for European Capital of Culture.

Retail NI Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said:

“Retail NI is a strong supporter for Belfast and Derry to secure the title of European Capital of Culture. To have achieved this would be a game changer, not just for our two main cities, but also potentially for our wider NI economy”

Retail NI has given its reaction to today’s Budget Speech by the Chancellor.

Retail NI Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said:

“Retail NI has long championed the need for City Deals for Belfast and Derry and we welcome the Chancellor’s green light of negotiations for a Belfast Deal. However we are disappointed and surprised that a City Deal for Derry was not included and will be raising this with the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland”

Retail NI has welcomed the Planning Appeals Commission decision on the North-South Interconnector being submitted to the Department for Infrastructure.

Retail NI had submitted written and oral evidence in favour of the Interconnector application.

Retail NI Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said:

“This is welcome progress and we hope that an early positive decision is made on this vital part of our infrastructure which will reduce the electricity costs of our members”

Retail NI has described as ‘staggering’ that nearly 111,000 Parking and Bus Lane fines have been issued between January and September of this year.

The Department for Infrastructure published the figures today.

Retail NI Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said:

”These statistics are simply staggering”

“110,689 parking and bus fines handed out to motorists in our town and city centres is having a clear and negative impact on shoppers and our members”

Retail NI has urged Land and Property Services (LPS) and the Department of Finance to learn lessons from the previous Revaluation in 2015 as it begins work on the new one for 2020.

Retail NI Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said:

“71% of our members saw an increase in their rates bills following the last revaluation in 2015. This cannot be repeated in 2020 and we would urge LPS to learn from their mistakes in 2015”

The Department of Finance will start work on a Non-Domestic Rates Revaluation exercise with a view to preparing a new Valuation List for use from April 2020.

Land & Property Services (LPS) will revalue all non-domestic, mainly business properties in Northern Ireland for rates and the new values will be used to calculate future individual rate bills for businesses and organisations. This exercise will ensure that the rating system is more up to date, better reflecting local economic changes and making the system fairer.

Retail NI has urged the NI Secretary of State to consult the business and wider stakeholders on today’s draft Budget.

 Retail NI Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said:

“While we appreciate that the Secretary of State had little choice but to set a budget, it is disappointing that an elected and accountable local Assembly was unable to do so”

Retail NI CEO Glyn Roberts, Shadow Secretary of State Owen Smith, Nigel Dodds MP and Hospitality Ulster CEO Colin Neill

Hospitality Ulster and Retail NI last night hosted a Northern Ireland Economy-themed reception at Westminster, which was addressed by the Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Owen Smith MP and attended by over fifty MPs, Lords and business leaders from Northern Ireland.

Following today’s decision by the Bank of England to increase interest rates, Retail NI has urged the Bank of England to be cautious and avoid any rapid increase that could hit household spending.

Retail NI Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said:

“While we appreciate the wider economic pressures such as inflation, Retail NI would urge the Bank of England to adopt a cautious and very gradual approach to any further interest rate increases”

The representative organisations of two of Northern Ireland’s largest sectors of industry, Hospitality Ulster and Retail NI, have expressed major disappointment with the Secretary of State’s announcement that no agreement has been found to restore devolution.

The Chief Executives of the two business groups, Glyn Roberts and Colin Neill, in a joint statement said:

“It is beyond disappointment that no agreement has yet been found to restore devolution and that Northern Ireland, for a nearly a year now, has to continue without a Government”