‘Retail First’ plan launched in Ballymena

Chief Executive of the Northern Ireland Retail Trade Association Glyn Roberts (right) with Melanie Christie Boyle of Ballymena Business Centre and Ballymena Borough Chamber of Commerce & Industry president Alan Stewart at last week's launch of Retail First. INBT 19-105JC

Chief Executive of the Northern Ireland Retail Trade Association Glyn Roberts (right) with Melanie Christie Boyle of Ballymena Business Centre and Ballymena Borough Chamber of Commerce & Industry president Alan Stewart at last week's launch of Retail First. INBT 19-105JC

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The organisation which speaks for independent retailers in Northern Ireland picked Ballymena to launch a new economic plan..

On a visit to the new Ballymena Business Hub in Church Street for a meeting with the local Chamber of Commerce, the Northern Ireland Independent Retail Trade Association (NIIRTA) set out their proposals - entitled ‘Retail First’ for Northern Ireland’s MPs and the new Parliament.

NIIRTA Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said: “Retail First is required reading for all North Antrim Election candidates to gain an understanding of the policy priorities of our retail sector. As the largest industry in Northern Ireland, a growing, vibrant and entrepreneurial retail sector is essential for a sustainable economic recovery.

“A priority within Retail First is investment in transport infrastructure to support the future development of towns like Ballymena. Within the first year of the new UK Government, working with the NI Executive, we plan to organise a major NI Infrastructure Investment Conference, to be addressed by the Prime Minister and Chancellor. Given the real likelihood of a hung parliament, Northern Ireland’s MPs could have a crucial role in shaping the policy agenda of the next UK Government. Retail First is our policy ‘shopping list’ to our local MPs to advise them in any discussions with either the Labour or Conservative parties.”

Among the thirty points included in Retail First are:- National Insurance holidays for retailers that locate in areas of high unemployment and dereliction; Setting up an Interface Investment Fund to promote new employment in those areas; A new UK wide GCSE in Entrepreneurship and technical degrees.

Download the full Retail First Report http://issuu.com/niirta/docs/niirta_retail_first