This Halloween spare a thought for the forgotten turnip…

As we approach Halloween, we should remind ourselves that as a people who have fought and continue to fight to preserve our rich cultural heritage protecting cultural traditions going back hundreds of years, it is with irony that one observes this week a cultural tradition that the Irish exported to the United States, now being exported back to us in a watered down ‘Americanised’ form which we now accept as our own culture without any of the rich cultural heritage … Read more

Time to reduce our highly restrictive an anticompetitive licensing laws…

alcohol drinks pub bar

I thought this was worth a mention for Tim Martin from JD Wetherspoon highlighting the crippling cost of drinks licences in the region. He said: “You have to pay an astronomical amount for a drinks licence here, whereas in Dublin and London they have removed most of the restrictions and you get a quicker response to changing trends in the industry. In London and Dublin at the moment there’s a lot of craft beer bars set up by small entrepreneurs, … Read more

The Reality of Owning an Electric Vehicle In Northern Ireland is shocking…

A recent report issued this week by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) highlighted a huge surge in the sale of Electric Vehicles (EV) with a 20% increase in EV registrations in the UK. Figures for New Car registrations in Northern Ireland are down 0.9% from January 2016 levels compared with increases in the rest of the UK and figures for the uptake of EV registrations specifically for Northern Ireland are not available so we do not know … Read more

The John Lewis Christmas Ad is cute. Pity NI can’t have the store…

Whilst the rest of the UK is enjoying viewing the latest Christmas advert from the UK up market department store chain, John Lewis we should spare a thought for the Northern Ireland shopper who unless they are ready to travel across the water to England, Scotland or Wales or Visit their concession at Arnott’s in Dublin, will not get to experience what all the fuss is about. A John Lewis department store was first mooted at the Sprucefield site over … Read more

The Chancellor leaves the NI Assembly’s Business Growth Strategy in Tatters following Budget 2016…

Earlier today the Chancellor left the Northern Ireland Assembly’s Business Growth Strategy in Tatters following the release earlier today of Budget 2016. Many of us have argued on the Slugger Platform in recent years, that the current obsession by Stormont to put all of its economic eggs in the 12.5% Corporation Tax basket was misguided and their efforts would be better served to create the economic conditions to enable our indigenous businesses, large, medium and small to thrive. This could … Read more

The Northern Ireland Consumer deserves choice as to who provides their public services

As we settle into the new year, there has been plenty of posts written about how the political landscape is likely to change in 2016 both north and south, which parties are forecast to do well and which ones could potentially suffer at the ballot box as well as the rise and fall of various political personalities in 2016. Little however has been written about the policies required to transform Northern Ireland from the economic basket case it currently is … Read more

Alternative Ulster; Rebuilding Northern Ireland’s Economy. Feedback from Coworking Europe 2015, Milan, Italy

Many of you who know me will be well aware of the frustrations I have encountered on my return to Northern Ireland, observing the Assembly being constantly distracted by legacy issues and failing to deliver a business strategy that will help our economy grow and bring economic prosperity for future generations. The Northern Ireland Assembly has prioritised 12.5% Corporation Tax as its main fiscal lever to kick start (in three years time) private sector growth in the Northern Ireland economy. … Read more

Forget Corporation Tax. Our high business rates are putting local shops out of business and killing our town centres…

Many of you may remember this famous 1980 Queen Hit, a song about dying in a gunfight, but in 2015 could be equally interpreted as a commentary on the death of retail and commercial businesses located in all the Town and City Centres of Northern Ireland. Many commentators have given their opinions as to the demise of the traditional high street and suggested that it is due to changes in shopping habits, the growth of the internet, the growth of … Read more

The Boal Car Parking Dispute with Belfast City Airport Sums up what is so wrong with the NI Economy

Belfast City Airport frontage

Only in Northern Ireland could a situation be allowed to arise where a private car park operator using a purpose built multi story car park, to run a car parking business is found to be in breach of planning law and is to be shut down because it is the ‘wrong type’ of car parking. Most ‘normal’ people in Northern Ireland think this decision is unfair, lacking in common sense, illogical, and goes against consumer interests. Northern Ireland is part … Read more

The Great Corporation Tax Reform Dilusion

Budget 2015 presented yesterday by George Osborne included another cut to the UK Headline Corporation Tax from 20% to 19% in 2017 and 18% in 2020 which means that the UK is now has the lowest Corporation Tax rate of the G20 Nations. The difference between the headline Rate in the Republic of Ireland and the UK will now be just 5.5% by 2020 and this single Budget change leaves the Northern Ireland Assembly blinkered policy of securing a 12.5% … Read more

Time for a level playing field for sports funding in Northern Ireland…

In a country where sports / cultural funding is generally split along sectarian Lines, the 3,000 people who participated in the Gran Fondo yet again tells us loud and clear that sports participation in Northern Ireland bears no resemblance to the way our politicians allocate funding for sporting capital projects in Northern Ireland. Our politicians representing the various minority Nationalist / Unionists factions continue to fight each other for sports / cultural funding and make all the headlines with their … Read more