The Northern Ireland Independent Retail Trade Association (NIIRTA) has launched its Alternative Programme for Government.
NIIRTA’s chief executive Glyn Roberts was joined at the launch of the document in Ballyclare by several South Antrim Assembly election candidates.
The programme outlines 97 recommendations, setting out policy priorities for the each of the nine new Executive departments, which will be established after the Assembly election. NIIRTA is the first business organisation to produce a plan for the nine new departments aimed at getting Northern Ireland working again.
Some of the main priorities listed in the NIIRTA plan include expansion of the Empty Premises Rate Relief, introduction of new Capital Allowance Rate Relief Scheme to support business growth, a Rural Rate Relief Scheme for villages and creation of a Level Three Retail Apprenticeship.
“NIIRTA is the first business organisation to publish a comprehensive five year policy plan for all nine departments and for the new Assembly. While retail and town centres are central to this report, this is a plan for our economy as a whole,” Mr Roberts explained.
“With the nine new Executive departments coming into effect, it is time for a fresh start. Retail is the largest contributor to our private sector economy but today our members still feel that there are too many barriers to business. We are calling for the Executive to take our proposals on board and to work to secure retail’s rightful position as a key partner for growth in a new, more efficient private sector led Northern Ireland.”
He continued: “In our Economic Programme for Government we outline detailed proposals for a radical reform of business rates, new Enterprise Zones, City Deals, more BIDs and investment in infrastructure.
“Action on addressing the high business costs, a coordinated plan to tackle red tape and creating a more vocational and professional education system are all key priorities in our plan.
“It is vital that business owners in South Antrim engage with candidates in all parties to influence their economic policy priorities.”
The launch event also marked Ballyclare Chamber of Trade joining NIIRTA, a move which will see the two business groups working together to boost the town centre and local economy.
“We are delighted to welcome Ballyclare Chamber of Trade as a member of NIIRTA and look forward to supporting their vital work in standing up for the town,” Mr Roberts added.
For more information about NIIRTA’s Alternative Programme for Government log on to www.niirta.com