Whilst those inside the Stormont bubble speculate on the outcome of the negotiations without end, the retail trade is getting seriously worried but that little mentioned economic downturn. Northern Ireland Independent Retail Trade Association (NIIRTA) along with the IoD, Ulster Farmers Union and about five or six other business organisations had a meeting with the First and Deputy First Minsters, their advisors, and the head of the Northern Ireland Civil Service [for all the good it will do them – Ed]They’re looking for an Economic Summit (Scotland had one today, whilst Wales had theirs last week) which conceivably the private and voluntary sectors could show up to. But so long as Sinn Fein’s armlock on government (warranted or otherwise) continues, the list of desired measures below stand little chance of coming to pass.
We need to see the Executive come forward with a small business rates relief package to stimulate growth, we need to see further investment in energy efficiency measures to help business save money, particularly investment in worthwhile organisations like the Carbon Trust who have a proven record of delivering for business whilst being clearly under-funded.
NIIRTA is calling upon the Executive to bring forward measures which seem to have been lost in the system like PPS5 and PPS 14. We need to see investment in capital projects to help stimulate the construction industry. But most of all we need to know that our government is putting its own difficulties behind it, and coming up with a workable plan to see our economy through.