Northern Ireland Retail Consortium welcomed Minister for Justice David Ford’s comments on modern slavery

LONDON, 2015-11-5 — /EPR Retail News/ — The Northern Ireland Retail Consortium has welcomed the Minister for Justice David Ford’s comments and contribution to the debate on modern slavery.

Aodhán Connolly, Director of the NIRC, stated “We are not only welcoming of the stance that the Minister for Justice has made on this issue but are glad to see that he has highlighted the efforts of civil society to combat injustice.

“It was UK retailers who campaigned hard, in partnership with other stakeholders, to get the transparency clause inserted into the Modern Slavery Act and our industry has for many years worked to prevent the exploitation of workers through a number of voluntary measures. We are therefore pleased to welcome the commencement of the Transparency in Supply Chains Regulations. As an industry, we have long argued that the greater the number of businesses who are engaged in the conversation around modern slavery the better chance we all stand of tackling it effectively. We see the transparency requirements as a crucial step in enabling business to talk in a sensible way about the problem of modern slavery, the steps that can be taken to guard against it and, crucially, how to deal with it if it is uncovered in a supply chain.”

ENDS

For media enquiries please contact Aodhán Connolly, Director of the NIRC, on 07880039744 aodhan.connolly@brc.org.uk

SOURCE: BRC

Northern Ireland Retail Consortium welcomes the establishment of Business Improvement District (BID) for Belfast City Centre

LONDON, 2015-11-5 — /EPR Retail News/ — The Northern Ireland Retail Consortium welcomes the news that traders have voted to establish a Business Improvement District (BID) for Belfast City Centre. A BID allows businesses within a defined area to come together on a number of important issues, including achieving reduced business costs through collective procurement of goods and services, investing in improvements and agreeing a set of projects which will deliver on these improvements including marketing the area on its own particular strengths.

However, the Director of the NIRC, Aodhán Connolly, says that the Department for Social Development has more to do:

“While the progress on BIDs in Belfast, Ballymena, Enniskillen, Newry and Strabane is welcomed, we here in Northern Ireland are playing catch up with our counterpart towns and cities in England, Scotland, Wales and the Republic of Ireland. The Northern Ireland BIDs Academy is a positive step and influence in this area but what we have been calling for in this past 3 years is a start-up fund to allow the towns across Northern Ireland that need it most to be able to get a solid platform to rejuvenate their high streets.

“BIDs are another way to make our towns and cities ready for business in the 21st century. A fund that could benefit small towns as much as our traditional market towns and cities can only do more to support not only our industry, but leisure, hospitality and all business sectors. And under our proposals, that money would be paid back from successful BIDs, enabling even more of our struggling high streets to benefit. A virtuous circle of investment.

“This may be a time of austerity but for Northern Ireland to be a competitive place to do business we need an investment from government that will actually make a tangible difference. With one in six of our shops lying empty their could not be a better time for funds to support all of our towns.”

ENDS

For media enquiries please contact Aodhán Connolly, Director of the NIRC, on 07880039744 aodhan.connolly@brc.org.uk

SOURCE: BRC

Northern Ireland Retail Consortium: Northern Ireland’s rates review warmly welcomed by the retail industry

LONDON, 2015-10-29 — /EPR Retail News/ — The devolved government has today published a consultation paper aimed at reviewing Northern Ireland’s £588 million a year non-domestic rates system. The move has been warmly welcomed by the retail industry. Over the past two years the Northern Ireland Retail Consortium has led calls for a review, most recently in its 2016 Policy Agenda and in last week’s Business Rates: Fundamental Reform paper.

Aodhán Connolly, Director of the Northern Ireland Retail Consortium, said:

“The retail industry whole-heartedly welcomes the DFP consultation on rates reform. Retail contributes about a quarter of the total rates tax take and this review is the best opportunity to affect real change in our lifetime on what is an outdated and damaging tax on jobs, growth and investment. We would encourage retailers and others to be a part of this change and make their voice heard. But most of all we are asking the political parties to have the courage and the will to change a tax that is simply not fit for purpose. Doing nothing on rates reform is no longer an option.”

ENDS

Note to editors:
1. The NIRC’s recent Business Rates: Fundamental Reform paper is available here
2. The NIRC’s 2016 Policy Agenda can be found here

For media enquiries please contact Aodhán Connolly, Director of the Northern Ireland Retail Consortium: 07880039744 aodhan.connolly@brc.org.uk

British Retail Consortium, 21 Dartmouth Street, Westminster, London, SW1H 9BP. 020 7854 8900. info@brc.org.uk.

 

Northern Ireland Retail Consortium: Fundamental reform of the £588 million business rates system should be a top priority for next devolved government

LONDON, 2015-10-27 — /EPR Retail News/ — Fundamental reform of the £588 million business rates system in Northern Ireland should be a top priority for the next devolved government in order to encourage investment and sustain jobs, according to the Northern Ireland Retail Consortium. The NIRC has launched a detailed 8-page policy paper entitled Business Rates: Fundamental Reform in Northern Ireland, which sets out the need for reform and the principles upon which reform should be based.

Speaking at the launch, NIRC Director Aodhán Connolly, said:

“With the advent of the DFP consultation on a review of business rates in Northern Ireland there is the best opportunity in a lifetime to reform a tax that has a stranglehold on investment here. The current system of business rates has become a tax on jobs and growth and undermines investment in property, especially in town centres and high streets.”

“Whilst fundamental reform will not be easy, doing nothing on business rates could lead to Northern Ireland missing out on investment, career opportunities and innovation. After the 2017 revaluations in England, Wales and Scotland, it is possible that Northern Ireland could have the highest property taxes in Western Europe.”

The document sets out what the NIRC sees as the principal concepts of fundamental reform, namely that:

– Reform should mean that the system flexes in response to changes in the economic conditions
– Reform should mean that the overall tax burden is reduced so companies can invest in growth and creating jobs
– Reform should lower the administrative costs of the system and improve efficiency
– Reform should improve the transparency of the system and strengthen the link between the ratepayer and the services received
– Reform should support small businesses and ensure that they are not any worse off than under the current regime
– Reform should spread the tax burden more equitably across different industries and sectors

“Support for reform isn’t simply an issue for retailers but stretches right across the private sector.” Mr. Connolly continued, “Companies’ ability to invest is being held back by the prospect of paying more in business rates. As a result the additional jobs and careers that retail could provide are less likely to be gained.

“We currently pay double in business rates than we do in Corporation Tax and while the devolution of that tax will provide some certainty for future planning, the reform of business rates has to be a priority for the NI Executive and all of the political parties here. For there to be fundamental reform there not only needs to be ideas gathered in the form of the forthcoming DFP consultation but the political will to grasp this opportunity and make the hard decisions needed to ensure Northern Ireland is a competitive place not only to invest but to continue to do business.”

ENDS

Notes for editors:
1. Please find Business Rates: Fundamental Reform in Northern Ireland attached to the right

For media enquiries please contact Aodhán Connolly, Director, Northern Ireland Retail Consortium, on 07880 039 744 or email aodhan.connolly@brc.org.uk

British Retail Consortium, 21 Dartmouth Street, Westminster, London, SW1H 9BP. 020 7854 8900. info@brc.org.uk.

SOURCE: British Retail Consortium