Failure to form Executive during cost crisis would be “utterly irresponsible” – Retail NI

Retail NI chief executive Glyn Roberts (centre) in Omagh town centre with local chamber president Colm Broderick and Retail NI president, Peter McBride.

THE failure to form an post-election Executive amid the cost-of-living crisis would be “utterly irresponsible”, Retail NI has said.

The trade body is the latest business group to call for immediate all-party talks after next week’s Assembly poll to secure a new Programme for Government and form an Executive.

Speaking at the launch of a new policy document in Omagh on Tuesday, Retail NI chief executive Glyn Roberts said: “These Elections are not about the protocol. They are about who is best placed to deliver real change in policy and address the huge challenges that face our economy.

“Following the election, the parties should have immediate discussions on agreeing a Programme for Government and forming an Executive. Not having an Executive in place during a cost-of-living crisis is and would be utterly irresponsible,” said the retail chief.

“Retail NI members are facing a perfect storm of challenges from, energy hikes, labour shortages, National Insurance increases and Covid-19 recovery. We are not just dealing with a cost-of-living crisis, we are also facing a cost of business crisis too.”

The business group’s ‘New Ambition’ document includes 29 policy priorities for the next Assembly term, covering the cost crisis; infrastructure and planning; improving government and climate.

Retail NI has also called for an extension to the business rates holiday until January 2023 and for a new ‘cost of doing business’ taskforce to be set up.

Mr Roberts said the next Executive should also create a new agency focused on micro and small business development as “a one stop shop for those seeking to start up on their own”.

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