Retailers and Northern Ireland as a whole benefit from an open, outward-looking, liberal approach to trade. We welcome the intention of the UK Government to involve the NI administration in its work on the Brexit negotiations. In advance of the negotiations the NIRC would encourage both administrations to draw up an inventory of those existing EU regulatory powers which may be repatriated to the UK and Northern Ireland and outline the likely approach to be taken.
The devolved administration should build on its welcome and positive message of engagement with business following the Brexit vote by prioritising real action on domestic policy. Even before the referendum, retailers were facing a challenging landscape. The devolved administration and the Assembly as a whole must look closely at the increased burdens facing retailers and take steps to support the industry and promote growth. Top of the agenda should be to work with retailers to deliver a retail industry road map which sets out future tax and regulatory changes. Ministers should press ahead with fundamental reform of business rates and ensure firms paying the Apprenticeship Levy in NI directly benefit from it. Ministers should seek to aid consumer confidence by keeping the cost of living down.