Small business owners in retail urged to give evidence on EU/GB trading to UK Trade and Business Commission

Small business owners in retail urged to give evidence on EU/GB trading to UK Trade and Business Commission
Copyright Kevin Cooper Photoline: Aodhán Connolly, Director of the Northern Ireland Retail Consortium - Footfall shows some improvement in August 21 - NIRC Sensormatic IQ data

Northern Ireland Retail Consortium Aodhán Connolly is urging small business owners in retail who have been impacted by Northern Irelands’s new trading arrangements with the EU and Great Britain to provide evidence for the cross-party Trade and Business Commission, so that the voice of every sector is heard by the government. The Commission is looking to hear from a wide range of people representing all four nations and every sector of the economy, as part of a collective response to the Government’s trade agreements.

The UK Trade and Business Commission brings together eleven MPs from nine different parties and all four nations of the UK, along with business leaders and experts, to provide independent scrutiny of the EU-UK agreement and trade deals. It is co-convened by Hilary Benn MP and the Chairman of Virgin Group Peter Norris, and the secretariat is provided by the cross-party group Best for Britain.

Live evidence session

The commission is due to hold a live evidence session on the impact of the EU-UK trade agreement on small businesses on Thursday 27th May 2021. It comes after economists told the commission last month that small businesses have been particularly impacted by the UK’s new trading relationship with the EU. The commission has also heard from food industry representatives who warned that many smaller businesses in their sector are giving up on trade with Europe because of the additional paperwork and bureaucracy involved.

Aodhán Connolly, who sits on the commission as Commissioner for retail and Consumers, commented “Retailers large and small across Northern Ireland have had to deal with a new way of trading with Great Britain from 1 January and it is a credit retailers and our colleagues in logistics that we have been able to keep good flowing. All of retail have had to deal with new customs processes and others have had to find new suppliers as some GB businesses have been unprepared or unwilling to service the Northern Ireland market. The UK Trade and Business Commission needs to hear those stories first-hand. We need to hear the challenges facing the industry now and the concerns that retailers have for the end of the grace periods with the phasing in of new checks from October and, of course, we need to hear what is working well.  It is imperative that Northern Ireland voices are heard on this issue and I would urge retailers and the wider business community to engage with this inquiry”.

Business owners can submit evidence via the trade and business website, following the link here: