Belfast Telegraph

Friday 18 April 2014

£150m John Lewis benefits do not add up

What is the cost benefit analysis of a John Lewis store plus a further 20 retail stores at Sprucefield?

 The suggestion that 1,500 additional jobs will be created in NI Plc is false. No additional jobs will be created and, indeed, more than 1,500 jobs could be lost elsewhere.

We are living in times of reducing living standards with less money in the economy, so any money going to new shops is a loss to existing shops.

Why do some politicians want to kill Belfast shops and other NI shops?

The High Streets are sadly being killed off by out-of-town shopping complexes – if government policy is to replace town shops with out-of-town complexes, then stop the rates on empty town shops as they have no prospects of re-opening.

Also, it is very disingenuous for politicians to say that this will be a £150m investment in NI. What is the net benefit to NI of this investment? How many NI products and how much NI labour will be purchased? The large bulk of investment will be in products from outside of NI and only a small part of the £150m will be of any benefit to NI.

All that will be left in NI is a building to house shops that close other shops.

The time to allow additional out-of-town complexes is in a thriving economy when families have increased spending power.

IVAN BROWN

Newry

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