| 4.2°C Belfast

Northern Ireland retailers 'deserve the same help' as GB counterparts

Northern Ireland firms dealing with the same crisis as their Great Britain counterparts deserve the same support from Government, a trade body has said.

A delegation from Retail NI met with Executive Office Ministers Declan Kearney and Gordon Lyons at Stormont yesterday.

The trade body called for measures outlined by the Chancellor to be implemented here including a 12-month 100% business rates relief and funding grants for small businesses.

Glyn Roberts, Retail NI chief executive, said that he wants to "ensure that there are jobs for people to come back to when this crisis ends".

"This was a useful meeting with the ministers at which we all agreed on the need for a whole societal effort to tackle the impact of Covid-19," he said.

"Retail NI urged the ministers to bring forward a comprehensive emergency programme of business support, including all of the measures outlined by the Chancellor.

"This has to include the 12 months 100% business rates relief and the funding grants of up to £25k for small businesses.

"We also need to see action for rent relief for businesses who are struggling during this crisis."

Mr Roberts also said that Retail NI have asked for the 2020 rates revaluation to be postponed or cancelled.

"Given that the 2020 rates revaluation unfairly penalised independent retailers with excessive increases of up to 50%, we have requested that the Executive postpone or even cancel it to support our members," he said.

"Retail NI members are dealing with the same crisis as their Great Britain counterparts and deserve the same support from Government.

"Given that thousands of jobs have already been lost in the last few days, this business support plan needs to be brought forward immediately.

"Right across Northern Ireland, Retail NI members and their staff are working exceptionally hard providing a public service, ensuring that the most vulnerable people within our community can purchase food and other essential items.

"Independent retailers such as convenience stores, grocers, butchers and pharmacies are in the front line of this crisis and deserve every support from Government and the community as a whole."

The call for retail support comes a day after the Belfast Telegraph revealed that some of the best known high street names were shutting their doors indefinitely.

Stores to shut at Victoria Square in Belfast include Apple, Urban Outfitters, Hollister, Vans, Inglots and McCombs.

Odeon and Omniplex cinemas have also announced closures until further notice.

Please log in or register with belfasttelegraph.co.uk for free access to this article.

Already have an account?

Belfast Telegraph