Retail News

High St voucher scheme included in Stormont rescue package

Glyn Roberts, chief executive, Retail NI.

Inclusion of vouchers for households to spend on the High Street, as part of a £300m Covid-19 business support package announced by Finance Minister Conor Murphy yesterday, has been welcomed by the retail trade.

“This package is very welcome, and we look forward to working with the Executive on refining the detail and its speedy implementation to assist businesses that are hardest hit by Covid-19,” said Glyn Roberts, chief executive, Retail NI.

“Retail NI had been lobbying ministers for some time on a High Street voucher scheme based upon the Jersey Government initiative and we are pleased that they listened and acted on our proposals.

“It is vital that this voucher scheme is targeted at independent retailers to ensure the full benefit to the overall economy and is not pocketed by multi-national supermarkets. 70p in every pound spend at independent retailer is recycled around the economy helping local suppliers, producers and farmers.

“We also want the targeted business rate relief to continue through to the next financial year and we hope to discuss this further with the Finance Minister.

“The next few months are about survival of our high streets and for many independent retailers. We need to see these measures brought forward rapidly.”

Aodhan Connolly, director of the NI Retail Consortium, said: “The £95m that will be given to households to spend on the high street is particularly welcome as it creates a virtuous circle of spending that will support retailers in the leaner months of January and February as well as being of huge benefit to those households whose budgets are already squeezed. This will make a tangible difference to the high street, to livelihoods and too lives.”

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