Spend it Local Card – November 2021
Retail NI worked closely with the Department of the Economy to bring forward the £100 Spend it Local Card. The card gave a much-needed injection of trade to local independent retailers with over 70% or it being spend with them.
Future High Street Summit – March 2022
On 30th March 2022 we held our Future High Street Summit at The Titanic, Belfast. Five Ministers from across the UK and Ireland addressed the audience outlining their vision for the regeneration and transformation of high streets.
Tánaiste Leo Varadkar TD, NIO Minister of State Conor Burns MP, Shadow Levelling Up Minister Alex Norris MP, Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots MLA and Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey MLA all addressed one of the largest ever attended high street conferences here.
Business Rates Package – March 2022
Following our calls for help for struggling new businesses Finance Minister Conor Murphy launched a revamped, more generous ‘Back In Business’ scheme, The scheme offered businesses a 50% rates discount for up to two years if they occupy a vacant shop unit. On 22nd March 2022.
The Finance Minister hoped the scheme will give business owners who set up in empty premises help to get established in the first two years.
High Street Task Force Report – March 2022
Junior Ministers Gary Middleton and Declan Kearney welcomed the publication of the Executive’s High Street Task Force report on 23rd March 2022. The document entitled ‘Delivering a 21st Century High Street’, has 14 recommendations on how our high streets must be regenerated.
Our CEO Glyn Roberts chaired the drafting committee and played a key role in the detail of the final report.
New Ambition – April 2022
Retail NI Launched its New Ambition plan on 26th April 2022 in Omagh. The document sets out 29 policy priorities for the next Assembly term. We also have urged immediate all-party talks to agree a Programme for Government and form an Executive.
New Ambition has four key sections, Improving Government, Tackling the Cost of Business Crisis, Modern Infrastructure and Better Planning and Addressing the Climate Crisis.
Westminster Showcase Event – May 2022
Trade NI the alliance of the three largest trade bodies, Retail NI, Manufacturing NI and Hospitality Ulster, hosted a significant Northern Ireland showcase event in Westminster on 18th May 2022 to over 200 guests which included representatives from 50 Embassies from around the world.
Th is was the biggest ever Northern Ireland event ever at Westminster and was addressed by several senior Government Ministers and highlighted why Northern Ireland is the ideal location to live in, invest in and do business in.
Extension of Rates Holiday to July 2022
Following various meetings with Department of Finance, the Finance Minister Conor Murphy secured Assembly backing to freeze the regional rate for another year on 2nd March 2022.
He also announced that the Rates holiday would be extended by another 3 months along with the Small Business Rate Relief scheme. It was well received by small traders particularly given the twin pressures of rising energy costs and the forthcoming National Insurance hike”
High Street Heroes 2022 – July/August 2022
Coleraine and Newtownards recently jointly scooped the prestigious High Street of the Year award, battling High Streets across Northern Ireland for the coveted prize, while Wardens of Newtownards received the sought-after Overall Retailer of the Year award and Shauna Corrigan from McGrane’s in Keady being voted Northern Irelands best retail employee.
Over ten thousand votes were cast for Retail NI’s High Street Heroes awards, with old favourites and new faces picking up gold, silver, and bronze across a range of categories. The initiative shone a light on Northern Ireland’s independent retailers, with the public choosing their favourite retailers in an online vote.
A celebration of winners was held at the Hinch Distillery on 17th August 2022.
Perfect Storm – August 2022
Retail NI along with Northern Ireland’s leading trade organisations published an action plan aimed at tackling the looming cost of doing business crisis that is affecting thousands in the region.
As a knock-on effect from the cost-of-living emergency, businesses are seeing a fall in trade and customer levels. Coupled with raising inflation, a workforce crisis across the sectors, and remaining Covid pressures, many within hospitality and retail are struggling to remain viable with businesses shutting up shop every day. We are currently meeting with all political Parties and Ministers to discuss a way forward.