Retail NI Sets Assembly Priorities | Features and analysis

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Retail NI has set out its priorities for the next term of the Assembly.

Its New Ambition plan details 29 policy priorities, focusing on four key sections: improving government, tackling the cost of the business crisis, upgrading infrastructure, and better planning and tackling the climate crisis.

The trade body also urged immediate cross-party talks after the election to agree a government program and form an executive.

Retail NI President Peter McBride said, “The launch of our New Ambition report in Omagh signals Retail NI’s commitment to campaigning for a better deal for our rural towns and villages with the government. One of the main priorities of our report is the creation of a rural towns and villages infrastructure investment fund to ensure that our small and medium towns are not left behind.

“Our members want to see a new executive spring into action with a radical agenda for government and a plan to deal with the cost of living crisis.”

Retail NI Managing Director Glyn Roberts added, “Retail NI members are facing a perfect storm of challenges from energy surges, labor shortages, National Insurance increases and the resumption of Covid-19. We are not just facing a cost of living crisis, we are also facing a cost of doing business crisis.

“We also want the current suspension of business activity rates to be extended until January 2023 to ease some of the pressure on businesses,” he said. “With the Invest NI review underway, Retail NI wants to see the executive create a new Small Business Champion to lead a new agency that will focus on micro and small business development and be a ‘one stop shop‘ for those looking to start on their own.

“We have also proposed sweeping reform of corporate rate relief to allow businesses to advance new investment, job creation and green technology. Retail NI wants to see the recommendations of the NI High Street Task Force implemented in full and with the installation of a new executive, immediately implement the five-year plan for elevated reconstruction.

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