Retail NI says regulations biggest challenge
As part of the BID for Business series of breakfast events, Glyn Roberts Chief Executive, Retail NI presented to a number of businesses in Ballymena to discuss the economic challenges facing the retail sector and stated that regulation is the biggest challenge.
Retail NI (formerly NIIRTA) provides support and champions independent retailers and has also been instrumental in assisting businesses in a number of key ways over recent years and continues to do so. Retail is the largest sector within Northern Ireland.
Glyn Roberts, Chief Executive of Retail NI, said, “I am more than aware that Ballymena has had tough times in the past but I would also say you have shown real leadership, entrepreneurship and innovation to others in business, in the private sector and in other towns.
“Retail NI was a strong advocate for Business Improvement District (BID) legislation to be introduced into the assembly. What you achieved first has shone a beacon on Ballymena. You are also the first to have an incubator business in Ballymena Town Centre – that is also to be commended.
“After a recent Retail NI survey, it is clear that regulation is the biggest challenge to our retailers. The high cost of doing business is on the top of our list to be addressed. We have targeted business rates and looked at the current small business relief scheme. The scheme could be set up with over a 40% reduction.
“This fully costed scheme is sitting in the in tray of the next Department of Finance’s Minister. It is ready to go and has the support of over 30 organisation including the Ballymena Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The top priority is to reform business rates but we need our Ministers back in government.”
Ronan McCann, President of the Chamber of Commerce welcomed Glyn Roberts to the Chamber and said, “I would like to thank Glyn (Roberts) for attending and discussing the economic challenges. It is important that we work together to ensure that we put Ballymena and local businesses first.”
Alison Moore, Ballymena BID manager commented; “This is our fourth BID for Business event and this particular event was a great opportunity for local retailers and businesses to find out and discuss the economic issues that are impacting on our business community. We are delighted that many topics were discussed and that there was recognition of the many involved in this sector.”
Glyn Roberts added that he was optimistic for the first time in 10 years as “there are many big changes in the way people shop. There is no longer the weekly shop, there is a good range of retail and café culture and shopping has become more social, making the experience fun. It is important to have a vibrant town centre, working hand in hand with the hospitality sector. The best days are yet to come.”
The business breakfast is the latest in a series of events that have been organised on behalf of the Ballymena Chamber of Commerce and Ballymena BID and in conjunction with Healthy High Streets.
The Ballymena BID and the Ballymena Borough Chamber of Commerce and Industry ran their fourth BID for Business event on Thursday 15th June 2017. Pictured is keynote speaker Glyn Roberts, Retail NI with President of Ballymena Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Ronan McCann, and BID Manager Alison Moore.