Economy Minister Warned Of Pressures Facing Retailers

Retail leaders have delivered a message of concern that small businesses are facing a perfect storm of additional costs next month to Northern Ireland's Economy Minister Diane Dodds.

Retail NI identified the revaluation of business rates, increases in the national living wage and local and regional rates as the key additional pressures facing independent retailers and small businesses.

The organisation compelled the Minister to vote down any regional business rate hikes when the local budget is set later this month.
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Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said: "Independent retailers and small businesses are facing a 'perfect storm' of additional costs on 1st April with a combination of the Rates Reval hike, increases in the local and regional rates and the Living Wage.

"While businesses in Northern Ireland continue to pay the highest Rates in the UK, our economy will not reach its full potential and our high streets will continue to decline.

"Small Businesses in England get a 50% rates discount with an nav of up to £51k and our members get a paltry 20% discount on a nav of £15k.

"In addition, Retail NI members are already paying expensive energy costs and struggling with an increasing burden of red tape and regulation."

Minister Dodds was also urged to establish a working group to examine ways to reduce high costs on businesses.

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