Retail NI launch New Ambition plan for next Assembly
Retail NI has launched its New Ambition plan in Omagh which sets out 29 policy priorities for the next Assembly term.
The trade body has also urged immediate all-party talks post-election 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.
Retail NI President Peter McBride said: “Launching our New Ambition report in Omagh signals Retail NI’s commitment to campaign for a better deal for our rural towns and villages from Government. A top priority in our report is establishing a Rural Town and Village Infrastructure investment fund to ensure our small and mid-sized town are not left behind.
“Our members want to see a new Executive hit the ground running with a radical Programme for Government and a plan to address the Cost of Living Crisis.”
Retail NI Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said: “These Elections are not about the Protocol. They are about who is best placed to deliver real change in policy and address the huge challenges that face our economy.
“Following the Election, the parties should have immediate discussions on agreeing a Programme for Government and forming an Executive. Not having an Executive in place during a Cost-of-Living Crisis is and would be utterly irresponsible.
“Retail NI members are facing a perfect storm of challenges from energy hikes, labour shortages, National Insurance increases and Covid-19 recovery. We are not just dealing with a cost-of-living crisis, we are also facing a cost of business crisis too.
“Our New Ambition report outlines the need for urgent action from the next Economy Minister to establish and Chair a Cost of Doing Business Taskforce to ensure a comprehensive package of measures is produced by late June.
“We also want to see the current business rates holiday extended until January 2023 to alleviate some of the pressure on business.
“With the review of Invest NI ongoing, Retail NI wants to see the Executive create a new Small Business Champion to head a new agency which will focus on micro and small business development and be a ‘one stop shop’ for those seeking to start up on their own.
“We have also put forward plans for a radical reform of Business Rates rates relief to enable businesses to bring forward new investment, create jobs and Green technology.
“Retail NI wants to see the NI High Street Taskforce recommendations implemented in full and with new Executive established immediately implement the five-year High Reconstruction plan.”
Caption: Retail NI President Peter McBride launching the New Ambition Report in Omagh with local Chamber President Colm Broderick and Retail NI CEO Glyn Roberts.